Feds Arrest 28 For Selling Bath Salts, Synthetic Marijuana in St. Louis

Categories: Crime

Feds busted a group selling and making synthetic marijuana.
Federal agents and local police arrested 28 people last week tied to a synthetic drug ring selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana nationwide.

The drug ring imported chemicals with misleading labels and descriptions from China and other countries, according to four indictments filed in the U.S. District Court in the past month. Workers in the St. Louis area and in Indiana used the chemicals to make and sell drugs that resemble methamphetamine and marijuana, though with more dangerous side effects.

See also: Governor Nixon Signs Into Law Bill to Outlaw Bath Salts, Synthetic Marijuana

The indictments say the ring made synthetic cathinones, a "speed" type drug more commonly known as bath salts, by cutting the imported chemicals with laxative powder and giving the product a new name, such as Full Throttle, Fresh, Limited, Starry Nights, Twisted, Pump It and Blitz.

The drug ring also used the chemicals to make a synthetic version of marijuana by liquefying the chemicals in acetone, spraying them onto herbs and adding flavorings, such as "Tasty Puff." The drug, which is more powerful and unpredictable than marijuana, was sold under the names Mega Kush, Mad Hatter, Bayou Blaster, Avalon, Pirates Booty, Lights Out, Golden Leaf, DEEW, Cloud 9, Primo, Optima and Crazy Eyes.

People who use bath salts report side effects of hypertension, paranoia, anxiety and psychosis, according to the U. S. Attorney's Office. Synthetic marijuana also has dangerous side effects, including excessive heart rate, vomiting and seizures.

The defendants sold the drugs at two shops in St. Louis -- South 94 Bait and Tackle Trading Post in St. Charles County and Smoke Sensations: Nights of Rave in St. Louis -- and a St. Clair County company called TS Botanicals.

See also: K2, Bath Salts Wholesaler Sues Missouri Over Laws Making Drugs Illegal

Though the drugs are intended to be smoked or snorted for a high, the ring purposefully mislabeled the drug packaging to "thwart drug-trafficking laws," according to the indictment. The packages said the drugs were "not for human consumption," and marketed the drugs as scouring powder, research chemicals, incense and novelty products with no clear instructions.

"Parents should not be lulled into a false sense of confidence that these substances must be okay just because they were purchased down at the corner gas station or convenience store," says United States Attorney Richard Callahan. "The bottom line is that these drugs are extremely dangerous, and the ingestion of these substances has led to serious medical consequences requiring hospitalization and even death and suicide."

Selling "Full Throttle" and "Pirates Booty" is apparently quite lucrative. Prosecutors also want the drug ring to forfeit more than $23 million in assets, including cash, gold and silver bars, houses and condos.

The investigation began in 2010 when Dr. Anthony Scalzo, director of toxicology for St. Louis University and Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, got calls about patients experiencing rapid heartbeat, anxiety, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure and agitation after using synthetic drugs.

"These drugs can cause serious health problems or even kill those who ingest them," says James Gibbons, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Chicago, which oversees St. Louis.

The 28 people arrested last week face charges of conspiracy to distribute Schedule I controlled substances and analogues; conspiracy to introduce and receive misbranded drugs; conspiracy to import controlled substances; conspiracy to receive, sell and facilitate the transportation of smuggled goods; and money laundering.

Each drug conspiracy charge or money laundering charge carries a 20 year prison penalty and/or fines up to $1 million.

Here are the people charged:
Anwer Rao, 35, O'Fallon, IL
Michael Lentsch, 34, O'Fallon, IL
Matthew Fiedler, 23, Belleville, IL
Larry Farmer, Jr., 40, Keyesport, IL
Charles Kinney, 55, O'Fallon, IL
Brandien Robinson, 28, O'Fallon, IL
Mansi Patel, 28, Phoenix, AZ
Greg Sloan, 58, St. Charles, MO,
Doug Sloan, 53, Indianapolis, IN
Igor Holdaiy, 52, St. Louis, MO
Elizabeth Pogue, 41, Bridgeton, MO
Charles Wolfe, 53, St. Peters, MO
Brett Beeman, 42, O'Fallon, MO
Sherri Beeman, 37, O'Fallon, MO
Roger Galvin, 36, Charlack, MO
John Galvin, 52, St. Louis, MO
Robert Jaynes, Jr., 43, Indianapolis, IN
Kirk Parsons, 45, Indianapolis, IN
David Neal, 45, Carmel, IN
Marcia Gronek, 52, St. Peters, MO
Mark Palmer, 44, Granite City, IL
Anthony Palmer, 25, Mt. Vernon, IL
Samuel Leinicke, 24, Arnold, MO
Charles Wolfe, 53, St. Peters, MO
Robert Wolfe, 52, Hazelwood, MO
Joseph Gabrick, 52, O'Fallon, MO
Pamela Tabatt, 56, St. Peters, MO
Richard Gross, 34, Winfield, MO
Paul Berra, Jr., 30, Warrenton, MO

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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If only the media would stop calling this "synthetic marijuana".  By doing this they confuse the public (intentionally) and misinform them.  These are research chemicals.  There are over 400 synthetic cannabinoids which are found (singly in various combinations) in "spice/incense" and a few dozen or so stimulant/hallucinogenic chemicals found in the "bath salts".  They are ILLEGAL (schedule one) here in Missouri.  The cannabinoids follow the rule for possession similar to marijuana (more than 35 grams is a felony).  The bath salts have no such weight/mass rule, thus any amount is a felony.

They are VERY DANGEROUS.  Pychotic episodes, heart attacks, strokes...etc., are common. 

Ruby Kroon
Ruby Kroon

A young friend of mine had a psychotic episode on the stuff and jumped to his death. He was smoking it to get past employment drug test. Please talk to teenagers about this. It's bad stuff.

Tim Corkill
Tim Corkill

I love k2 it replaced ridilin for me.. Since I cant afford Obamacare


This is not Synthetic Marijuana. Stop trying to relate it to cannabis. Yellow journalism sucks.

The Counterculture Colonel fabricated many synthetics for the Military in the 50's and Clinton's Merdinol are synthetic lab created cannabis. Patents filed on several individual cannabinoids, whereas natural plants are exempt. As the prohibitionists cling to the stinking sinking ship of fools holding onto their prohibition profits. spreading gossip and false headlines.

Mike Newlands
Mike Newlands

WTF is synthetic weed?!? Thank god I live in CO!

John Null
John Null

What would you need the synthetic shit for if weed were legal? Nothing. But weed's not legal, so people are going to keep smoking the synthetic shit until it is.

Jeffrey Hill
Jeffrey Hill

come here ,I wanna chew yer face off.....aaarrrrhhh... .chomp..chomp...nom nom nom.

Laura Dobber
Laura Dobber

Penn & Teller's Bullshit is really a great show. I know some of their stuff is a little bias, but generally speaking, they are spot on. They opened my eyes to a lot of bullshit I didn't realize was going on.

Curtis Hardy
Curtis Hardy

As soon as they ban one type of syn cannabinoid then the dudes overseas just come out with another version to make money off dumbasses and sneak around the FDA by labeling not for human consumption... Jwh018....019...020... Then syn other shit like 'plant food and bath salts' Oh well. Most people do not even have the drive or patience to read and learn about shit before they try it...sell it...or even write a news story on it... I think all the government authorities need to be sat down to view Penn and Teller's Bullshit "the war on drugs" or be read the way that portugal deals with drugs now. Knowledge is power...

Laura Dobber
Laura Dobber

I stand corrected, Steve Horak will still do stupid shit.

Laura Dobber
Laura Dobber

If weed were legal, people wouldn't be doing other stupid shit.

Gerry Schettle
Gerry Schettle

say's, " damn and I was looking forward to a nice hot long bath tonight "...

Jennifer Scroggs
Jennifer Scroggs

who would but synthetic marihuana? the real stuff costs next to nothing anyway. haha

Matt Cox
Matt Cox

A lot more places are selling it for the retards still. lol

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