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Leaders of synthetic-drug operation get prison time

By S. M. Chavey

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL —Two leaders of a multimillion-dollar synthetic drug ring operating in Minnesota pleaded guilty and were sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

Omar Wazwaz of New Brighton, 35, and Vladimir Brik of Duluth, 27, were indicted in 2015. Each was charged in federal court with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues. Brik was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“Hopefully, the lengthy sentences these defendants received will deter others from committing similar crimes,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Hubbard Burgess, of the IRS Criminal Investigation St. Paul Field Office, said in a statement.