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Trial date set for defendants year after Jake’s Fireworks raided in date-rape drug distribution case

One year after federal agents raided a Nederland fireworks stand, a trial date has been set.

U.S. District Court Judge Thad Heartfield set a trial date for the case involving Jake’s Fireworks for Sept. 21, according to court documents obtained by Port Arthur Newsmedia.

On July 15, 2020, law enforcement agencies searched Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals, which is owned by Jake Daughtry and operated out of the fireworks shop on Twin City Highway near Spurlock Road. Following the raid, the U.S. government released indictments for nine suspects on allegations that Daughtry and the other defendants knowingly distributed 1,4 butanediol for human consumption. The chemical is more commonly referred to as BDO.

The product was sold at the Nederland location and on the company’s website. The chemical is legally sold as an industrial cleaner, but can be used as a date-rape drug if consumed.

Daughtry, along with his parents Joseph Daughtry and Sandra Daughtry, were indicted on counts of drug trafficking and money laundering after the raid.

Employees Jordan Lee King, Austin Dial, Tanner Jorgensen; all of Nederland; Kip Daughtry, of Vidor, and Jesse Hackett, of The Woodlands, were also arrested and charged. Joshua Wisneant was arrested in connection with the case.

Multiple agencies and officers conducted raids and arrests in July 2020 at the location.

In July of last year, a district judge ordered that all of the defendants would not be jailed prior to a trial. The government had sought detention for Jake Daughtry and Jesse Hackett. All defendants pleaded not guilty last year.

Ryan Gertz, one of the attorneys for the Daughtry family, said the case has taken over a year to get to trial due to the government not turning over evidence in discovery.

“We brought them these 5 terabyte discs that are supposed to be filled with data,” he said. “We don’t have those back from them.”

The defense attorney said a separate civil trial regarding potential confiscation of the Daughtrys’ assets is pending on the upcoming criminal trial.

“The civil hearing was about whether or not (the government) could hold certain things and not keep them long term, necessarily,” Gertz said. “The civil judge makes the determination about what (the Daughtrys can access), but that is not the same as what a jury could say about civil forfeiture down the road.”

Since the raid, the Daughtrys have not been allowed to operate the fireworks stand.

As far as the allegations against the Daughtrys, Gertz said the defense is three fold.

“One (defense) is that we were selling it as an industrial solvent,” he said. “There is not going to be any evidence at all that makes it appear that we were trying to sell it for human consumption. It was labeled and bottled and everything else just like the other chemicals that were sold on their website. There was no difference in marketing. Second, it is not contraband.

“…The final thing is that the government has to prove that our people intended for it to be used by human consumption. It is not that they knew somebody might be misusing it. It is not that their suppliers warned them that somebody might be. What matters is the intent. If there is no evidence of intent, it is not illegal. It is like owning Tide Pods.”

The district attorney’s office claimed about 95 percent of Right Price Chemicals distribution, or $4.5 million in sales, revolved around BDO. The Daughtrys’ attorney said that number is inflated.

Investigators claim there is a link to chemical sold by the Nederland company and two deaths — one in Virginia and one in Florida.

Port Arthur Newsmedia reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Tuesday for comment, but the prosecutor was unavailable.

A DEA agent conducts an investigation July 15, 2020, in Nederland.