Florida Couple Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy Involving Potent Substances

U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has handed down sentences to Jacob Spinoza, aged 50, and Veronica Jo Barback, aged 29, both residents of Weeki Wachee, for their involvement in a conspiracy to distribute dangerous drugs. Spinoza will serve nine years in federal prison, while Barback has been sentenced to three years and four months. The pair were found guilty of conspiring to distribute protonitazene and metonitazene, potent chemicals similar to fentanyl.

The court ordered both defendants to forfeit several firearms and assorted ammunition linked to their illegal activities. Spinoza pleaded guilty on September 7, 2023, followed by Barback on September 12, 2023.

Court records reveal that Spinoza and Barback collaborated in distributing protonitazene and metonitazene, substances known for their potency, acquired from sources in China. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at their shared residence in the Middle District of Florida on October 7, 2022. The search uncovered significant amounts of the illicit substances, alongside cash, digital scales, drug paraphernalia, firearms, and ammunition.

The investigation leading to these convictions was carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

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