Judge sets bond in synthetic drug case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. The man who authorities say is behind one of the nation's largest synthetic drug operations has been granted bond by a South Florida judge.

The case, which involves dangerous and harmful man-made drugs, is likely creating a precedent for others just like it around the country.

Thursday was a combined detention hearing and a probable cause hearing for John Shealy.

The federal judge ruled there is probable cause to continue the case.

The judge and the attorneys were meticulous today, commenting several times during the hearing that as a synthetic drug case, it's new, novel and unique.

Miami-based attorney Marc Seitles represented Shealy today.

He said, "people have the right to be outraged about this particular product being on the market, but there's ways to create laws to ban this product."

Seitles argued, because the chemicals Shealy allegedly used to make his product are not overtly, specifically listed on the DEA's banned substance list, then they are not illegal.

But prosecutor Stephanie Evans, and even the judge, pointed to a federal statute that says any banned substance and its analogs are illegal, thus making the chemicals Shealy was alleged to be using illegal.

Also in court, prosecutors said the warehouse explosion on May 21 in West Palm Beach is what prompted Shealy to open this warehouse on Military Trail which is what authorities raided during a nationwide crackdown.

During a recent search warrant of Shealy's house, authorities said they found several guns, up to $20,000 and a steroid-making lab.

But the judge decided none of that was enough to keep him in jail until trial.

He was granted a $500,000 surety bond and $500,000 bond he'll have to front 10 percent of.

Amongst the bond's stipulations, Shealy will not be allowed out of his home between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., he will have to get a job not dealing with his products, and the judge ordered him to not have contact with any witnesses or other defendants.

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