The owners of Twilight Boutique, 2032 W. Fourth St., were among five people indicted on a charge of conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids for their reported sale of products with names such as spice and K2, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Sean Lightner and Sherry Lightner, both 38 and both of Grafton were indicted, along with Dale Drummond, 39, of Cleveland; Mark Picard, 32, of Whittier, Calif.; and Nathan Albright, 28, of Glendale, Ariz.

“These defendants sold a product that was designed to mimic an illegal drug,” Dettelbach said. “No matter what it was labeled or whatever clever name it was given, it was illegal.”

Synthetic cannabinoids are a large family of chemically unrelated structures functionally similar to THC. Synthetic cannabinoids may contain Schedule I controlled substances or controlled substance analogues and have purported psyschotropic effects when smoked or ingested.

The Lightners operated a chain of head shops (retail stores specializing in drug and smoking paraphernalia) doing business as Twilight Boutique, where they sold synthetic cannabinoids along with accessories such as bongs, pipes and rolling papers, according to the indictment.

They franchised the Twilight Boutique on Madison Avenue in Lakewood to Drummond for a percentage of the store’s monthly revenue. Drummond also sold synthetic cannabinoids from the store, according to the indictment.

The Lightners expanded their business to include several locations in Ohio, including the Ontario store. In late May, the METRICH Enforcement Unit and Ontario police raided the Twilight Boutique, confiscating what they believed to be synthetic cannabinoids.

A woman who answered the phone Friday at the Ontario store declined to comment.

The Lightners presented laboratory reports to others, including employees, alleging that the synthetic cannabinoids sold in the Twilight Boutique stores did not contain controlled substances or controlled substance analogues in an effort to give the appearance that the synthetic cannabinoids were legal when the Lightners knew they were illegal, according to the indictment.

Originally published in the News Journal on December 12, 2013.