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The fact he’ll go down in history as a “first” won't ease the mind of Miguel Ashby--a Seattle, Washington, kingpin facing federal charges related to bath salts. Cops says he's been supplying a major bath salts drug ring in a business plan raking in millions. 10 arrests are made in the famous June 28, 2011, arrests over a deadly drug said to mimic cocaine or Ecstacy but capable of triggering psychotic episodes.
Feds say what’s been dubbed “bath salts” are proving a dangerous new designer drug – now associated with mass emergency room visits and deaths across the nation since use hit a fast high in 2010.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claim Seattle-area bath salts supplier, Miguel Ashby, has been acting as a kingpin – leading a drug ring that’s accused of supplying bath salts as a drug to New York City, New York, and Seattle, Washington, head shops while also making bath salts available for purchase online.
The drug bust is an absolute “first” for a new New York-based DEA task force targeting bath salts. Bath salts include a group of substances sold in convenience shops and head shops – the drugs said to mimic the effects of cocaine or ecstasy.
Just weeks ago on June 3, an ABC News "20/20" investigation found that – despite the drugs being made illegal and linked to several deaths, they continue to be made easily available to the public and sold in both retail and online stores "Bath salts" are supposedly responsible for 2,500 calls to poison control centers since 2010, and their use connected to four deaths in 2011.
Police say the ringleader Ashby has been operating a company called “Ascension Therapeutics” in the Seattle area, per a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan’s federal court. Accused of being the ring’s kingpin, Ashby is accused of ordering large quantities of MDPV -- a drug commonly used in bath salts -- over the internet from China. MDPV is a chemical designed to mimic drug use effects of “Ecstasy”. Ashby would then supposedly package the MDPV and distribute the newly-packaged bath salt product to nine other defendants and making the bath salts available for online purchase with a website claim for reducing stress: "Relieve your stress today!"
Washington state’s Board of Pharmacy has just recently placed an emergency ban on on certain types of bath salts –including the designer drug labeled as “Cloud 9”.
While bath salts are said to mimic the effects of ingesting cocaine or “Ecstasy”, poison control experts say effects triggered by bath salts can be completely unpredictable or even trigger psychotic episodes. Bath salts packaging says the product is not for human consumption. Consumers don’t know what is truly contained in the product being purchased for use.
Federal prosecutors allegedly seized 36 kilos of the bath salts drug from Ashby and a total of 40 kilos of the drugs in the bust. The drug bust is said to be worth more than $2 million in street value – with Ashby looking at up to a 20-year prison term if convicted on the bath salts charges.