Cranston, West Warwick Businessman Charged In Federal Court With Possession With The Intent To Distribute “Bath Salts”
Rhode Island One Of 30 States In DEA Led National Crackdown Of Alleged Synthetic Drug Makers, Wholesalers, Retailers
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Glen Lonardo, 48, of Cranston, owner of Buddha’s Bazaar in Cranston and XCitement Video and Smoke Shop in West Warwick, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Lincoln D. Almond today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with allegedly possessing synthetic drugs with the intent to distribute, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New England Field Division, Cranston Acting Police Chief Rhode Island State Police Captain Kevin M. Barry and West Warwick Police Chief Colonel Richard G. Silva.
Lonardo’s arrest earlier today by members of the RI DEA Drug Task Force follows a year-long investigation by the Drug Task Force, Cranston Police and West Warwick Police into the alleged sale of “bath salts” at Lonardo’s Cranston and West Warwick businesses. Lonardo’s arrest is one of more than 150 DEA led arrests of alleged synthetic drug makers, wholesalers and retailers in 30 states over the past two days.
Lonardo is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of: a-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (a-PVP), an analog of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDV), a Schedule I controlled substance, commonly referred to as “bath salts.” Bath salts is a generic term applied to a variety of chemical substances sold under various names for purported use as bath salts, glass cleaner, or incense (among other things) but which is being consumed, smoked or injected by drug addicts to experience a “high.” The various chemical substances are often scheduled drugs or analogues of scheduled drugs.
According to an affidavit filed with the court, Cranston Police began an investigation into the alleged distribution and use of “bath salts’’ in the early spring and summer of 2013, after receiving numerous complaints of apparent drug overdoses and erratic behavior in the general vicinity of Buddha’s Bazaar. The investigation, including surveillance of the area and alleged undercover purchases of bath salts called “Nuke” from Buddah’s Bazaar, resulted in a federal court authorized search of the business in August 2013. During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement seized nearly 200 packets and bags of bath salts, some labeled Nuke, Krush, Frenzy and Blast.
According to the affidavit, following the execution of the search warrant at Buddha’s Bazaar, the investigation into the alleged sale of bath salts was expanded to include Lonardo’s West Warwick business, XCitement Video and Smoke Shop. The investigation allegedly included numerous undercover purchases of bath salts by West Warwick Police.
According to the affidavit, on January 17, 2014, West Warwick Police responded to a reported breaking and entering at XCitement Video and Smoke Shop. While processing the alleged burglary, West Warwick Police allegedly came across numerous packages labeled “Nuke.” West Warwick Police applied for, received and then executed a court authorized search warrant for XCitement Video and Smoke Shop. Additional bath salts were allegedly seized during the search and Lonardo was arrested on state drug charges.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Lonardo was released on $10,000 unsecured bond following his initial appearance in U.S. District Court.
Possession with the intent to distribute a mixture containing a detectable amount of a Schedule I controlled substance is punishable by a statutory penalty up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/