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A New York City man is facing charges of distributing synthetic cannabinoids, a synthetic drug used to treat opiate addiction.
According to a New York state grand jury indictment, Michael A. Mazzano, 51, of Manhattan, pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday.
Mazzano was charged with distributing a Schedule II controlled substance, the same as a Schedule I substance.
A Schedule II substance is defined as “designed to produce a physiological effect.”
A Schedule I controlled substance is more restrictive and has a higher potential for abuse.
In a related development, the federal Department of Justice announced a civil forfeiture investigation into Mazzane’s finances and the drug company he owns.
The department is also looking into whether Mazzani may have violated the Controlled Substances Act.
A lawyer for Mazzana told ABC News that he is innocent and the charges are a politically motivated witch hunt.ABC News’ Robert Allen contributed to this report.