U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox announced today that a federal judge has entered a preliminary injunction barring Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from resuming business operations out of their Twin City Highway location in Nederland.
“If businesses are used as a front for drug trafficking, they can pose a serious threat to the community,” explained U.S. Attorney Stephen Cox. “The Eastern District of Texas is committed to using all available criminal and civil law enforcement tools to combat such threats. Here, a civil injunction was particularly critical to stopping the defendants from continuing to engage in their alleged misconduct and presenting a risk of harm.”
The Eastern District sought and obtained a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) under the Controlled Substances Act on July 13, 2020, on the grounds that Jake’s Fireworks was a drug-involved premises. The government alleged that Jake’s Fireworks was a front for Right Price Chemicals, a company alleged to have distributed 1,4 butanediol, commonly referred to as “BDO” across the country in violation of federal law. BDO is a chemical manufactured only for industrial or laboratory use as a floor stripper or vehicle wheel cleaner and is not intended for human consumption. Congress has identified BDO as a “date rape drug” and has criminalized illegal internet sale of BDO to unauthorized purchasers.
The July 13th TRO immediately shut down operations of the business and any further distribution of BDO and other chemicals by Jake Daughtry, Joe Daughtry, Sandra Daughtry, and Kip Daughtry. Based on evidence compiled through its investigation, the government moved to convert the TRO into a preliminary injunction to prevent Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from reopening altogether.
Following an evidentiary hearing on September 2, 2020, Judge Michael Truncale granted the government’s request and enjoined Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from resuming business operations. After hearing testimony from an agent with the DEA’s West Palm Beach Task Force and a contract chemist employee of Right Price Chemicals, Judge Truncale found the government proved a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of its civil injunction suit. In his order granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Truncale explained the evidence showed:
- Right Price Chemicals ordered and shipped BDO out of the Jake’s Fireworks premises;
- BDO was stored in and around the Jake’s Fireworks premises;
- Right Price Chemicals’ business offices and operations were situated within the Jake’s Fireworks building;
- Employees of Right Price Chemicals, including Jake Daughtry, knew that BDO was a “controlled substance analogue” and that customers were using BDO for human consumption; and
- Right Price Chemicals continued to sell BDO for human consumption despite knowing it was being used illegally.
The preliminary injunction continues to prevent Jake’s Fireworks or Right Price Chemicals from reopening and resuming shipping BDO across the country in violation of federal law. The injunction also prohibits Jake’s Fireworks from reopening for seasonal fireworks sales.
This is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration West Palm Beach, Florida, and Beaumont; United States Postal Service; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Essential support and coordination was provided by numerous components of DEA headquarters and the Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division (SOD), including assigned attorneys from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Wells and Michelle Englade.
The claims made in the complaint are allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government must prove to receive a permanent injunction against the defendants.