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Warren County to prosecute area’s first ‘bath salts’ case

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Warren County to prosecute area’s first ‘bath salts’ cas

    Clearcreek Twp. man charged with receiving items through the mail.

    A Clearcreek Twp. man scheduled to be arraigned today in Warren County Common Pleas Court on a charge of aggravated drug possession will be the first person in the region prosecuted under the new state law banning the sale or possession of the designer drug known as bath salts, as well as synthetic marijuana.

    The case will be the first test of the synthetic drug law that went into effect in October, officials said.

    “I believe with law enforcement it will clearly give them the direction of what elements are required to prosecute under the new statute,” said Ken Betz, director of the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory. The crime lab has investigated 17 deaths stemming from synthetic stimulant use since March 2011.

    Matthew R. Holbrook, 35, was indicted last month on a fifth-degree felony drug possession charge after he allegedly received a package by mail on Oct. 26 containing bath salts that he had ordered via the Internet. The package contained items labeled “Tiger Blood” and “Crystal Clean” hookah and pipe cleaner, said Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell.

    “Obviously, on the website they indicate the substance is perfectly legal,” he said.

    The crime lab determined that the substance was Pentylone, a stimulant with a chemical structure that is “substantially similar” to Methylone, which is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the new law, Fornshell said. Fornshell’s office plans to prosecute Holbrook under the “controlled substance analog” piece of the legislation that states any structurally similar compounds must be treated as Schedule I substances and carry the same legal penalties.

    The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office also is preparing bath salts cases, he said.

    Ohio Prosecuting Attorney Association Executive Director John Murphy said he was not aware of any cases to date statewide that have been prosecuted under the new synthetic drug law.

    By Dave Larsen, Staff Writer
    Updated 11:51 PM Thursday, February 2, 2012



  1. Elphantwalker
    I'm disappointed there wasn't more on the investigation methods. Was this guy under surveillance already? Did he own a head shop? Did the vendor give up customer data? Did the post office open his mail? This article really doesn't tell us much more than some guy is being charged with something.
  2. capecoralecstasy
    Thats what Im sayin...

    How did they find theses illegal packages in the box?

    Its not like, they have a drug dog to sniff the package out...

    So how did they know?... there was bath salts...
  3. Wayne Brady
    I read another article on it. He got in a fight with his dad and his dad called the cops on him for the RC's.

    EDIT: I posted that article and another below.
  4. capecoralecstasy
    AH! Thanks for the info.

    The dad is a jerk! and a snitch. :)
  5. Basoodler
    I wonder if this guy can argue that the information on the new law was sketchy? It went into effects a week or so prior to his arrest. Also as this article states he bought the product was advertised as legal. I mean its not like even we at this site can wrap our heads around the analog laws, how is the average joe with less information going to make a judgement on a purchase?

    I think they will pin this kid with whatever they can though to set an example for other cases. Ohio law enforcement has a hard on for bathsalts and opiates at the moment. They have to have a hard example to use on headshop cases coming up..

    Namely the distbution bust in the same county siezed a ton of spice and all of it would have to be prosecuted under the analog law because its been said none of the chems are specifically banned. They have to win that one or else end up with an illegal search and seizure case that would cost the state a ton of money..

    And and it would end cycle of new "legal" spice showing up in retail stores.. if I were a lawmaker that shit would piss me off. :)
  6. Wayne Brady

    WARREN COUNTY -- It's a synthetic drug that manufacturers say is legal. But now a Warren County man is facing charges just for having it. Matthew Holbrook was arraigned in Warren County Friday. Police found Holbrook in possession a substance similar to the now illegal designer drug known as bath salts. It's now marketed as glass or jewelry cleaner. But the crime lab determined since it has the same effects as bath salts, under a new state law, the so-called cleaner is illegal.

    Manufacturers say you can legally buy the jewelry or glass cleaner online. But as Matthew Holbrook of Springboro found out, doing so could get you locked up. Police say Holbrook purchased glass cleaner online last year, right after a law banning synthetic drugs known as K-2 and bath salts went into effect.

    “We've seen them marketed as everything from bath salts to good luck charms. People purchase a packet of white powder for $40.00 and put it in their pocket. In essence though it's a drug,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

    And this is the first time anyone in the Miami Valley has been prosecuted for being in possession of designer substances since the law went into effect in October of last year.

    “The legislation gives us flexibility to prosecute,” he said.

    Manufacturers have tried to find a loophole in the law by changing a few molecules of the synthetic substances, and then marketing them under a different name, like glass or jewelry cleaner.

    “If it's masquerading as jewelry and glass cleaner but when we do the analysis and it is substantially similar to a schedule one or two controlled substance and it has the same hallucinogenic, stimulant, or depressive effects. Then that is an illegal substance,” Fornshell said.

    We went to several smoke shops and convenience stores all over the area that sold synthetic drugs before the law went into effect. Not a single store is selling the now illegal substances now.
    Saturday, February 4 2012, 12:18 AM EST

  7. Wayne Brady
    Police: SW Ohio Sees First Bath Salts Prosecution

    Investigators Issue Warning To Ohio Parents

    CLEARCREEK TOWNSHIP, Ohio --*Reports of young people across Ohio experimenting with bath salts as a drug had police sending a warning to parents on Tuesday.

    The new drug is now illegal in Ohio, but police said the substance is easy to find online.

    "They just come in these small, foil packets," said Sgt. Wally Stacy, of the Clearcreek Township Police Department.

    They come with names like "Tiger Blood" and "Crystal Clean" and have a similar effect on the body as methamphetamines.

    Some of the so-called bath salts were confiscated in Clearcreek Township just days after they were banned in the state. Police said it may be the first bath salts case in the state.

    Police said Matthew Holbrook, 35, of Warren County, bought hundreds of dollars in bath salts.

    "He ordered it looks like six items, and they were $335," Stacy said.
    Investigators said it wasn't hard for Holbrook to get his hands on the substance.

    "The website's still in business," Stacy said.

    All it took was a few clicks and his father's credit card, police said.

    "(It's from) Herbal City LLC out of Illinois, and they shipped it to him right through the U.S. Postal Service," Stacy said.

    Stacy said when Holbrook's father intercepted it, the father and son got into an argument and the father called police.

    "If you order two packets of bath salts for $80, you probably should know that it's not to go in your bath water; it's something that's illegal," Stacy said.

    Police said it's actually a stimulant used to get high, and under Ohio's new law, it's illegal -- but not according to those who sell the salts, which is why investigators said parents should be on the lookout.

    "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet," Stacy said.
    One particular website claims "the purchaser is responsible for making any purchase decisions regarding the legalities within their own jurisdiction." Police said they didn't think that would hold up against prosecution.

    The trouble is, they said, it becomes a jurisdictional problem going after online vendors in other states and countries.
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