William Bretherton, the personality on the A&E reality show "Billy the Exterminator" was recently arrested on charges of drug possession in Louisiana, his home state. Those who have seen the show know that Bretherton is a pest control specialist, and frequently responds to calls to handle various pests.
Police in Bossier City arrested both Bretheton and his wife on April 28 in a hotel after responding to a 911 hang-up call from their room. Both were found to be in possession of a substance suspected to be synthetic marijuana. Sources said it isn't clear whether the Brethertons have retained an attorney.
Synthetic marijuana is a psychoactive designer drug which, when consumed mimics the effects of cannabis. In the past, it has been sold under various brand names including K2 and Spice. When they first came out back in the early 2000s, it was believed that their effects were the result of a mixture of legal herbs. That was found not to be the case in 2008, and since that time there has been a push to outlaw various forms of the drugs.
As of last March, there are five such drugs that are now illegal under federal law. Other variations have been temporarily scheduled until a final determination is made about their status. There are also, at this point, a number of synthetic drugs on the market which have not been banned by the new law.
In August of 2010, Louisiana made certain forms of synthetic marijuana illegal. At this point, simple possession of these synthetic drugs can result in a fine of up to $500 and/or 6 months in jail for a first conviction. A second conviction can result in a $2,000 fine and/or five years in prison. Subsequent convictions can result in a $5,000 fine and/or 20 years in jail.
Clearly, the consequences of these convictions are serious. Vendors who are worried about facing charges for possessing illegal drugs should consult an attorney before charges come up. Those who already face drug charges should speak with an attorney to determine how to proceed with defense.
Source: CBS News, "'Billy the Exterminator' Faces La. drug charges," June 6, 2012