OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
William J. Ihlenfeld, II
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist
December 15, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two Arrested on “Bath Salts” Charges
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — Two individuals were arrested today (December 15, 2011) in the Middlebourne, West Virginia, area on charges stemming from an Indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Elkins, West Virginia, on December 13, 2011.
United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that PHILLIP JAMES HAMILTON, JR., age 35, of Middlebourne, and STEVEN L. KLOH, age 34, were named in a three-count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that HAMILTON and KLOH conspired to distribute Methylenedioxypyrovalerone hydrochloride, also known as “MDPV” and N-Methyl-N-ethylcathinone, also known as “4-MEC,” both also known as “Bath Salts” in September 2011 in Wick, Tyler County, West Virginia.
HAMILTON was named in Count Two of the Indictment charging him with the distribution of Methylenedioxypyrovalerone hydrochloride, also known as “MDPV,” on September 6, 2011, in Tyler County.
HAMILTON and KLOH were named in Count Three of the Indictment charging them with aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute Methylenedioxypyrovalerone hydrochloride, also known as “MDPV” and N-Methyl-N-ethylcathinone, also known as “4-MEC,” both also known as “Bath Salts” on September 6, 2011 in Wick, Tyler County.
“Bath Salts are an emerging threat in our communities that pose significant health risks when taken,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “This indictment is the first of its kind in the Northern District of West Virginia but it won’t be the last, as we plan to aggressively pursue those who engage in the sale of Bath Salts.”
According to Ihlenfeld, Bath Salts are a new, highly addictive designer drug which are typically distributed in small, independently owned retail establishments such as adult stores, gas stations, head shops, convenience stores, and skateboard shops. The products, as well as their raw chemical components, are also sold on many Internet sites and are often packaged in such a way that they appear to be authentic beauty and household goods. Bath Salts are known to produce side effects such as elevated heart rate, hypertension, irritability, extreme paranoia, delusions of super-human strength and invincibility, hallucinations, suicide, and aggressive and violent behavior.
“Although sold under a seemingly innocent name, the public needs to know these designer drugs are anything but," stated Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge. "These substances called ‘bath salts’ are extremely dangerous and those who supply them to our communities will be arrested and prosecuted."
HAMILTON had his initial appearance today and was released on bond. KLOH is currently in state custody. HAMILTON and KLOH will appear for their arraignments on December 22, 2011, before Magistrate Judge James E. Seibert.
If convicted, HAMILTON and KLOH face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 on each count of the Indictment.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
It should be noted that the charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and that each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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