Major kratom importer’s guilty plea stirs questions

(CN) — A California man whose companies grossed more than $60 million selling the botanical supplement kratom has pleaded guilty in federal court in California to illegal importation, and faces up to two years in prison at his Oct. 6 sentencing. 

Sebastian Guthery, whose Linked-In profile says he “founded or co-founded over 15 different companies totaling millions of dollars in sales and annual revenue,” agreed to the plea deal on July 10, according to a Justice Department press release. Guthery’s company, Nine2Five LLC, also pleaded guilty to money laundering. It appears to be the first criminal money laundering conviction for illegally importing kratom into the United States. 

“This should put the kratom industry on notice,” Tyler Hatcher, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office, said in the announcement.

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