Texas Man Sentenced for Distributing "Bath Salts"
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Dung Lam Le, 27, of Dallas, Texas, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone, a controlled substance analogue, more popularly known as “4-MEC” or “bath salts,” was sentenced to 44 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas E. Gregory, who handled the case, stated that agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, acting in an undercover capacity, were able to purchase significant quantities of the controlled substance analogue by communicating with the defendant via e-mail and on-line. Agents seized over one kilogram of 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone, which had been sent by Le to a co-conspirator in the Rochester area.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, along with many local law enforcement agencies, have increased efforts over the last year to combat the importation, distribution, and use of designer drugs known as “bath salts”, which have a similar chemical structure to “methcathinone”, a Schedule I controlled substance. “Bath salts” are synthetic stimulants that have no real value as a bath salt or other bath product. Their only known purpose is to be consumed by humans as a recreational drug. Users of “bath salts” typically snort the drug in powder form or ingest the drug in pill form, but some users have been known to smoke it, or inject the drug intravenously. The drug has proven to affect users in a variety of ways, but users typically experience highs similar to those experienced after ingesting MDMA or “ecstasy”, and stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine (euphoria and increased energy). Companies located in China and India are principally responsible for manufacturing and exporting “bath salts” to the United States. Shippers of “bath salts” typically mislabel the product to evade detection by law enforcement, and sell the drugs via the Internet to distributors around the world, including in the United States. Distributors in the United States then sell the drugs online, through traditional distribution methods or by retail distribution at convenience stores, gas stations, and “head shops” (retail stores specializing in drug paraphernalia) in packets labeled “bath salts.” “Bath salts” have been shown to have a number of adverse and largely unpredictable effects, which include psychotic episodes, delusions, panic attacks, increased heart rate, chest pain, agitation, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division.