Pensacola CEO and partner indicted in Vegas spice operation

The legal troubles of Ben Galecki, Pensacon CEO and Greater Pensacola Chamber board member, and Burton Ritchie, former owner of the Psychedelic Shack, magnified last week when a Las Vegas federal grand jury handed down a 35-page indictment for an array of charges, including distribution of a controlled substance, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The two men, who are partners in Heretic Films, were arrested earlier in October in the Pensacola on charges stemming a similar drug distribution indictment from Virginia federal grand jury.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that, according to the indictment, Ritchie and Galecki formed a company to manufacture spice at a warehouse in Las Vegas in 2012, producing 200 kilograms in between June and July 2012. The product–under the names “Bizarro, Headhunter, Avalanche, Neutronium, Sonic Zero and DEFCON 5 Total Annihilation– was distributed in small packets or vials to tobacco shops and adult novelty stores.

The product was marketed as not being fit for human consumption. However, the indictment alleges it was sold for consumption without proper label warnings of its health risks.

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Galecki is one of the two managing members of Pensacon, LLC, which was registered with the state of Florida by Galecki on Feb. 3, 2013. This past year, Galecki’s film company used the event to promote an upcoming project, “Staremaster.”