Woman to serve prison time for selling synthetic drugs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Woman to serve prison time for selling synthetic drugs

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

An Iowa woman was selling more than make-up and cell phones out of her stores and now she's headed to federal prison.

Monday afternoon, 53-year-old Mary Ramos was sentenced to only five years behind bars, instead of the maximum of 80 years, for selling synthetic drugs for human consumption.

Her sentencing comes after Ramos managed an I-Wireless store in Cedar Rapids, selling synthetic drugs to undercover officers.

Agents say they found a lot more synthetic drugs in Ramos' Evansdale, and say she even sold the fake drugs to a confidential informant in Black Hawk County.

Inside the courtroom Monday, Ramos apologized saying "I did not sell it as a drug."

Drug agents found more than 1,800 packages of synthetic drugs not counting the amount she sold.

Kevin Techau, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said the K2 and all cannabinoids are dangerous and presents grave danger on the streets in Iowa.

“Iowans can be very proud of the hard work and cooperation by federal, state and local law enforcement that brought these important cases to a successful conclusion,” said Techau.

Judge Linda Reade sentenced Ramos to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Since this case, the Tri-County Drug Task Force says it's seen synthetic drugs go down.

"We've had a dramatic decrease in the amount of reports that we've had and as far as the usage among the synthetics in the Waterloo area," said Lt. Corbin Payne with Waterloo Police.

Ramos' son, Earl "EJ" Ramos, also managed an I-Wireless store, but in Waterloo.

He was sentenced in 2014 to four years and nine months in prison, also followed by three years of supervised release.

Techau stressed the importance of the cooperation and hard work of law enforcement on the federal, state and local levels to get these synthetic drugs off the streets.

"We will identify you, we will hunt you down, and we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law. Make no mistake we are fighting for the laws of our children," said Cedar Rapids Police officer Charity Hansel.

Both Ramos and her son's arrests were part of a nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs called Project Synergy in June 2013.

As prosecutors recommended, Judge Reade did grant Ramos leniency, because Ramos didn't have any prior criminal history.

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