Exotica Trial Underway; Another Defendant Takes Plea

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Exotica Trial Underway; Another Defendant Takes Plea

By Jake Wasikowski. CREATED Aug 11, 2014

Omaha, NE -- Were so-called “Head Shops” in the metro selling illegal drugs?  That's the question during a trial underway in US Federal Court.

Jury selection started today in the Exotica illegal drug raids with one of two defendants taking a plea deal.

In September 2012 federal agents raided the Exotica, and Exotic Gifts stores in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Lincoln, and South Sioux City.  The feds say the stores made millions of dollars selling synthetic drugs, known as K-2 and bath salts, and drug paraphernalia.  They were allegedly being sold alongside tobacco products.

Prosecutors initially indicted 11 people; only Frank Firoz and John Ways Jr. were scheduled to go to trial.  Monday morning, Firoz pleaded guilty to selling drug paraphernalia, and money laundering.  Prosecutors dismissed one count of selling illegal drugs.

"This was the main count of the government's case and they were willing to dismiss it.  Frank accepted that opportunity and moved on," said Michael D. Nelson, Firoz’s attorney.

Firoz will have to pay more than $350,000 to the government for laundering.  A judge will sentence him in November.

The trial for John Ways Jr. is expected to take 3 weeks and has nearly 100 witnesses on the list.  Ways Jr. is currently being held at the Douglas County Jail.