The DEA has busted a major distributor of the recreational designer drug “bath salt” along with nine employees of retail shops in the first- ever federal prosecution of the emerging drug known to produce a high comparable high to Ectasy.
The DEA in New York on Tuesday announced the arrest of distributor Miguel Ashby and sellers in Manhattan and Brooklyn: Maxim Amar, Diana Asaro, Nassar Atrach, Yakob Biton, Dimitry Farber, Sufiyan Ganchi, Gabrielle Grife, Igor Kanchik, and Steve Zhik.
The DEA said that bath salts are synthetic stimulants that have no real value as a bath salt or other bath product.
“Bath salts” first emerged in the U.S. about two years ago and is typically snorted in powder form or ingested in pill form, but it can also be smoked or injected intravenously, the DEA said.
Users typically experience highs similar to that of the drug Ecstasy and stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines, the DEA said.
Adverse effects include psychotic episodes, delusions, panic attacks, and increased heart rate, the DEA said.
Companies in China and India are principally responsible for manufacturing and exporting the drug, the DEA said.
“Nationwide the abuse of ‘bath salts’ has led to serious health consequences and death,” said John Gilbride , head of the DEA in New York. ” This investigation is further evidence that DEA and our law enforcement partners will not sit by while a new form of drug abuse takes hold. Let this be a message to not only those who sell this poison, but to those who abuse ‘bath salts’ that this road leads to a dead end.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement: “Bath salts are one of the latest designer drugs to reach our shores, and they have proven to be a public health and safety menace with serious, and sometimes deadly, consequences.”
Authorities said that “bath salts” are also often sold in dance clubs and at parties known as “raves”. They typically sell for approximately $40 to $100 per gram, and each packet contains approximately one quarter to one gram. A gram consists of approximately eight to 40 doses, the DEA said
Brand names include “Aura,” “Ivory Wave,” “Russian River,” “Xtreme,” and “Goodfellas.”
They are often labeled “not for human consumption” to circumvent federal narcotics laws, the DEA said.