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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lincoln County Man Sentenced for Trafficking Synthetic Drugs

St. Louis, MO – Richard Gross, Winfield, MO, was sentenced today to 150 months in prison on multiple counts involving the trafficking of synthetic drugs.  Additionally, as part of these convictions, the defendants have agreed to the forfeiture of assets and property totaling in excess of $6.5 million.

According to court documents, Richard Gross and co-defendant Paul Berra manufactured synthetic cannabinoids known on the street as “K 2” and “Incense” and synthetic cathinones known on the street as “Bath Salts.”   These products were sold to stores in a number of states.  However, their largest customer was Gross’ mother, co-defendant Pam Tabatt, who was the largest retailer of synthetic drugs in the Eastern District of Missouri.  She sold the synthetic drugs through South 94 Bait and Tackle in St. Charles County and Smoke Sensations, Nights of Rave in St. Louis County. 

Gross, Winfield, MO, pled guilty in April to one felony count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substance analogues intended for human consumption, conspiracy to fraudulently receive and distribute misbranded products in interstate commerce, conspiracy to import controlled substance analogues into the United States and conspiracy to receive, sell and facilitate transportation of smuggled goods.  He appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge John A. Ross.

Pamela Tabatt, St. Peters, MO, pled guilty to related charges in March. She was sentenced July 20 to 150 months in prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. Paul Berra, Jr., Warrenton, MO, entered his plea in January and was sentenced in May to 34 months in prison.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Additional assistance was received from the St. Louis County Police Department, St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department, MO Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group, Metropolitan Enforcement Group for Southern IL, Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, as well as the prosecuting attorney's offices in St. Louis County, MO; St. Charles County, MO; Madison County, IL and St. Clair County, IL.  Assistant United States Attorneys James Delworth and Erin Granger handled the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Drug Trafficking
Updated August 19, 2016