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28 Charged in Synthetic Drug Bust

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A retail container of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, as part of arrest of 28 suspects

A retail container of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, as part of arrest of 28 suspects

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Within the past 30 hours, 28 people have either been arrested or have surrendered on federal drug trafficking charges.

The manufacture of synthetic drugs is a recent development designed to circumvent traditional drug laws by creating new chemical compounds that mimic the effects of drugs like marijuana and cocaine, but purport to avoid the classification of a controlled substance because of a chemical alteration.

The synthetic drugs are most frequently marketed as legitimate products and sold in typical commercial outlets such as convenience stores and gas stations. The drugs masquerade as incense, potpourri, glass cleaner, bath salts, and plant food, their cost however is much higher than the normal commercial product they mimic.

Colorful graphics designed to appeal to young people on foil packet of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis

Colorful graphics designed to appeal to young people on foil packet of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis

“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,” said 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.”

Cartoon-like artwork on foil packet of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis

Cartoon-like artwork on foil packet of synthetic drugs seized by U.S. Attorney in St. Louis

“These drugs can cause serious health problems or even kill those who ingest them,” said James Gibbons, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Chicago, which oversees St. Louis. “Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to identify these criminal schemes, seize their unregulated contraband and bring purveyors of synthetic drugs to justice.”

Charged in the first indictment are:

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

Charged in the second indictment, 4:14CR00152 FWS, are:

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

Charged in the third indictment are:

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

Charged in the fourth indictment are:

Pamela Tabatt, 56, St. Peters, MO

Richard Gross, 34, Winfield, MO

Paul Berra, Jr., 30, Warrenton, MO

If convicted, the drug conspiracy charges and money laundering conspiracy charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for each count and/or fines ranging from $500,000 to $1,000,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges. Additionally the indictments seek forfeiture of assets and property totaling more than $12 million dollars.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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