Vladimir Vladimirovic Brik, 25, is a much better criminal than football player.
Last season, the wide receiver for the Great Lakes Wolfpack, a semi-pro team playing in the Northern States Football League, pulled down five passes in three games. Although he averaged an impressive 19 yards per catch, it's the Duluth resident's criminal stat line that really shows a young man who plays with passion.
Brik is one of five men charged with making and distributing synthetic marijuana through various Minnesota smoke shops.
Synthetic weed is a marriage of non-cannabis herbs sprayed with lab-produced chemicals that's made to mimic the effects of marijuana grown in the dirt. It's what oxycontin is to heroin, the original's chemical cousin.
Brik, along with Omar Wazwaz, Steven and Daniel Lyke, and Taleb Awad appeared in federal court last week on charges alleging they imported controlled substances, then conspired to manufacture and distribute synthetic doob under the brand name "Smokes 4 Less."
In one instance, prosecutors allege Brik wired $110,000 to a Liechtenstein bank to pay for an order of controlled substances totaling about 20 kilograms, which were in turn shipped to a store in Mankato run by Wazwaz.
Brik's alleged drug activity is hardly his first foray into nefarious extracurriculars.
Four years ago, he was arrested at an apartment northwest of downtown Duluth after authorities discovered Brik had gone julienne on a man's chest in an assault that was said to be vigilante justice.
According to Duluth Police, Brik carved a 10-inch "X" into the chest of a man he believed had stolen items from his Duluth pad. After making his mark, Brik poured charcoal lighter fluid on the victim, stuffed a rag doused in the flammable accelerant into the man's mouth, then threatened to set him ablaze.
Brik was charged with six counts of assault, kidnapping, robbery, and first-degree burglary, according to Duluth Police records. Two other men were also arrested in connection with the incident.
Brik would cop a plea. He conceded to third-degree assault and first-degree burglary charges and received five years of probation in lieu of a five-year prison sentence.
Brik's drug arrest doesn't bode well for his probation. He's been charged with three counts of controlled substance distribution, drug misbranding, and money laundering.
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