Almost four years after 19-year-old Max Dobner smoked a synthetic drug and died crashing his car into a North Aurora home, federal prosecutors have announced charges against the former owner and an ex-employee of a mall smoke shop that sold him the drug.
Prosecutors said 52-year-old Ruby Mohsin of Glen Ellyn is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance. Court records indicate she is accused of selling packages of synthetic marijuana to Dobner, an Aurora native.
Mohsin was the owner of the Cigar Box, a store formerly in the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
Her former employee, Mohammad Khan, 63, of Glendale Heights, is similarly charged.
According to court papers, Mohsin is accused of selling Dobner three "one-gram packages" of the "synthetic cannabinoid" on June 14, 2011, for $20. A short time later, investigators said Dobner smoked the drugs, had an adverse reaction and crashed his car into a home along Route 31 in North Aurora.
Dobner's 1999 Chrysler Cirrus was traveling so fast that investigators said it went airborne for about 15 feet after striking a retaining wall, then struck a tree before crashing through the house and lodging in a baby's bedroom. The baby was outside and uninjured in the crash. The baby's parents were also uninjured.
The force of the crash dislodged the motor, investigators reported at the time, which went through three more rooms and started a small fire in another bedroom.
An autopsy determined the drug Mohsin is accused of selling him was in Dobner's bloodstream and no other drugs or alcohol were detected.
Investigators said in the criminal complaint against Mohsin and Khan that Dobner bought the drugs at 2:33 p.m. the day of the crash. Dobner crashed his car about 4 p.m.
According to court papers, federal authorities said a "concerned citizen" repeatedly warned Mohsin between February and April that local youngsters were buying and using the drugs she was selling as "potpourri" and "experiencing serious physical and mental side effects." Prosecutors said the warnings did not deter her from buying the drugs from an Iowa manufacturer and selling them.
Shortly after Dobner's death, undercover Aurora officers bought similar synthetic drugs from Khan at Mohsin's store, authorities said.
Both Mohsin and Khan face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Neither could be reached for comment.
In the aftermath of Max Dobner's death, his mother, Karen, created a foundation in his memory and travels throughout the state to warn youngsters about the dangers of synthetic drugs and has helped advocate for stricter state laws regarding the sale of such drugs. She said the charges against Mohsin and Khan are long overdue.
"As you might imagine, these charges don't bring my son back," Karen Dobner said by phone Friday. "But I do get a sense of satisfaction that this woman and her clerk are finally being held responsible for their atrocious and egregious behavior."