by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - The city of Sandy Springs has forced one of its assistant solicitors to resign after it came to light her husband was recently convicted of operating a multimillion-dollar synthetic marijuana distribution company.
Agents told us the company was a "major national distributor of synthetic cannabinoids."
In September, one of the company's co-owners, Thomas Malone, Jr., pleaded guilty to one federal charge of conspiracy to distribute a schedule controlled dangerous substance, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
According to his guilty plea, customers paid Nutragenomics "not less than $10,000,000" for its products, which were designed to give customers a high.
Court documents said the products, marketed as "Mr. Myiagi," were sold in head shops and gas stations across the country.
In December, Sandy Springs swore in Malone's wife, Jeannine, as an assistant solicitor. Her job was to prosecute cases in city court, including drug offenses.
Sixty miles away in Bremen, Ga., Lance Dyer learned of Malone's appointment and immediately notified Sandy Springs police about Malone's connection to synthetic drugs.
Dyer is planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Malones and others. Dyer's 14-year-old son, Dakota, killed himself last year after trying "Mr. Myiagi" just once, Dyer said.
"I thought this is the woman who will stand up and prosecute drug cases in their city court, yet no one over there knows who her husband is and her relationship to the synthetic drug industry," Dyer told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik.
"Ms. Malone was aware of what her husband was doing at the point in time that he was arrested and indicted. She benefited from his multimillion-dollar drug empire."
Sandy Springs City Attorney Wendell Willard told Petchenik that Malone had never disclosed her husband's background and when the city learned of Malone's legal issues, Willard said officials asked her to step down.
"It's sadness that a family with so much power, so much influence and so much money has not stepped forward, and having first-hand knowledge of these synthetic drug cartels, and not done something to help combat it," Dyer said.
Petchenik reached out to Ms. Malone. In an email, she said, "I resigned my professional relationship with the City of Sandy Springs so that the City would not be part of any discussion about my husband's legal issues."
Ms. Malone is not facing any criminal charges related to her husband's operation.