2 men sentenced to 60 combined years for selling spice in Hampton Roads

Charles Burton Ritchie, left, and Benjamin Galecki, right, were sentenced to 60 combined years for selling spice in Hampton Roads. Credit: Western Tidewater Regional Jail

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Two men who ran a $21 million spice operation that shipped the drug to areas of Hampton Roads were sentenced this week to a combined 60 years.

Authorities for the Eastern District of Virginia say 46-year-old Charles Burton Ritchie and 42-year-old Benjamin Galecki headed up Zencense, a Pensacola, Florida-based company that made smokable synthetic cannabinoids — also known as spice.

The company gave its spice blends names including Bizarro, Neutronium, Orgazmo, and Sonic Zero.

Ritchie and Galecki were purported to sell the company in 2012 to a third party in California, but continued to maintain control under the company’s new name, ZenBio, into 2013.

Authorities say ZenBio shipped 1,000 kilgrams of spice to the Hampton Roads area — where it was sold at at Hampton Pipe and Tobacco and the Red Barn in Newport News.

The two men were convicted in January of this year.

Ritchie received a sentencing of 32 years, while Galecki was sentenced to 28 years. Both are ordered to forfeit $6.5 million.