SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Three members of a family from Springfield who are accused of running a multi-million dollar synthetic drug ring are out of jail after a hearing in federal court on Thursday. They've hired defense attorneys and say they plan to aggressively fight the federal government's case against them.
Federal prosecutors say Douglas Franklin and his adult children, Brandon and Caitlyn, ran a business that sold a synthetic form of marijuana called K2. Prosecutors say their company -- ThirdEye -- made nearly $6.7 million in three years.
Prosecutors also say the Franklins sold their product in 39 states and nearly 38 cities in Missouri. Investigators say the Franklins sold a product called Krypt2nite to more than a dozen retailers in Springfield.
The federal government says the family broke the law by selling a drug that's a lot like marijuana.
"Those who profit from the sale of these dangerous and illegal substances are nothing more than drug traffickers," said David Ketchmark, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. "They may think they can skirt the letter of the law by tweaking a molecule or changing a chemical formula."
One of the Franklin's defense attorneys says they followed the law to the letter.
"They didn't hide anything," said Don Cooley, who represents Caitlyn Franklin. "There were no backdoor deals. There was no secret to what they were selling."
Last Friday, federal agents arrested the Franklins and served search warrants on several addresses, including a building in the 1500 block on North Kansas Expressway.
That's where agents found Debbie Adams, a public school superintendent from Taney County. Adams works at the Mark Twain School District in Rueter, more than 60 miles from Springfield.