PDT Staff Writer
The last of four individuals charged in Portsmouth’s first bath salts raid goes on trial Monday.
Michel L. Ross, 39, of 10th Street in Portsmouth, faces charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated trafficking in drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, aggravated possession of drugs, trademark counterfeiting and other charges as part of a 21-count indictment.
The four people, Raymond Robinson, 31; Latoshia R. Malone, 31; Ranatha J. Thomas, 44 and Ross were arrested in Portsmouth’s first bath salts case in December 2011.
According to Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware, who at the time was acting chief, officers executed a search warrant at Judah’s Jams, 1020 Clay St., Portsmouth following an investigation in the sale of bath salts. Police said the search revealed evidence of the sale of illegal bath salts and more than 100 containers of synthetic marijuana. Officers also confiscated a .40-caliber handgun, pirated music CDs and counterfeit clothing and purses.
“During the search, numerous individuals entered the premises. They were interviewed with many admitting their intent to purchase bath salts to get high,” Ware said at the time of the arrests. “A customer was found to be in possession of nearly $4,000 cash.”
The following day, Portsmouth Police intercepted a package as it was being delivered to the business. Inside were 510 containers of a substance police believed to be bath salts.
Citing an “imminent threat to public safety,” the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made illegal the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — the synthetic stimulants mephedrone, MDPV and methylone.
Bath salts is the informal name for a family of designer drugs often containing substituted cathinones, which have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine. Their white crystals often resemble legal bathing products like epsom salts, but are chemically disparate from actual bath salts. Bath salts’ packaging often states “not for human consumption” in an attempt to avoid the prohibition of drugs. Other “street names” for this drug are Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky and Bliss.
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said Assistant Prosecutors Pat Apel and Julie Hutchinson will prosecute the case while Richard Nash will act as attorney for the defendant.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.