Mississippi City Councilman Pleads Guilty to Selling Doctored CBD Products

May 6, 2024

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city council member pleaded guilty to federal charges after running a multimillion-dollar illegal drug business, prosecutors said last week.

Biloxi City Council member Robert Leon Deming, III, 47, reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi on conspiracy charges. Deming sold more than $2 million worth of CBD and vape products that contained controlled substances, prosecutors said. The Drug Enforcement Administration received complaints that some of the products he sold made customers ill.

“A public official’s side job should not be running a business that distributes millions of dollars in illegal controlled substances and endangers the health and safety of its customers,” said U.S. Attorney Todd Gee.

As part of his plea agreement, Deming agreed to forfeit a yellow Monster Truck with oversized tires, a lift kit and more than $1.9 million. He will be sentenced in August.

Deming sold drugs through his business, the Candy Shop, LLC, which operated stores selling CBD and vape products in Mississippi and North Carolina. In 2020, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating the Candy Shop.

The stores misbranded vape additives as containing CBD when they really contained synthetic cannabinoids, investigators found. Authorities seized over $1.8 million in cash from Deming’s residence and additional cash and controlled substances from his stores, prosecutors said.

Law enforcement officers also uncovered group chats in which Deming’s employees said the additives were too strong and could harm their customers. Nevertheless, Deming still misbranded the additives as containing CBD. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 19, 2023. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Deming was first elected to the Biloxi City Council in 2013. In 2017, he attracted attention after proposing a city ordinance to require Mississippi’s old state flag with Confederate symbols to fly at all municipal buildings. In 2020, he ran for a U.S. House seat in south Mississippi and lost in the Republican primary.

Topics Mississippi Cannabis

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