HEBER SPRINGS, AR (KAIT) - A drug distribution ring in Region 8 has been dismantled, and six dealers have now pleaded guilty to charges.
The Cleburne County Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice worked together to track down drugs that were being shipped from China to Heber Springs, Arkansas in 2012.
The packages contained pentedrone and methylone, drugs commonly referred to as bath salts.
Informants were also making controlled purchases of these drugs from distributors in the area.
"Bath salts, the common name for drugs Christopher Hogan was distributing in the Heber Springs area, are extremely dangerous drugs," said the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Christopher Thyer. They mimic the effects of methamphetamine andecstasyy, but they are more potent and have a greater effect on the user.
"Bath salts users frequently require emergency medical treatment, and HIS along with its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively investigate and seek prosecution of anyone seeking to illegally import and distribute these dangerous, illegal drugs," said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans.
The packages from China were addressed to 47-year-old Christopher Arnold Hogan.
On July 11, 2012, a grand jury indicted Hogan and five other defendants in an eight count indictment charging conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of Methylone, Pentedrone, MDMA, and MDPV. These are controlled substances, which are illegal to possess and have no legitimate consumer use.
Hogan has now pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to possession with intent to distribute 246 grams of bath salts. A number of his distributors were charged and pleaded guilty in this case.
Hogan will face up to 20 years prison, be fined up to 1-million dollars, and at least 3 years supervision after being released from prison.