- Associated Press - Sunday, January 10, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Three Florida men are headed to federal prison after pleading guilty to importing a key ingredient in making the illegal synthetic drug known as “spice.”

Federal investigators say 12 packages containing the chemical XLR-11 were shipped from China to addresses in Indian River and Palm Beach counties. The parcels were initially intercepted in New York by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents.

The three suspects pleaded guilty last year to two federal drug conspiracy charges. Authorities say the chemical that was intercepted is commonly used to make synthetic “spice” which is usually smoked and mimics the effects of marijuana.

The men sent to prison last week were from the Tampa area. The longest term of 10 years was imposed on 28-year-old Saiful Hossain, who also must forfeit $1.5 million in assets.

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