Warren County bath salts trail traced to China

With help from the Warren County Drug Task Force, an investigation by the Drug Enforcment Administration has resulted in the indictment of two California residents.

Terry Ford, 37, and Dawn Peters, 35, both of Clovis, Fresno County, Calif., are charged with distributing synthetic drugs, conspiracy, and money laundering, according to the Eastern District of California of the U.S. Attorney Office.

A federal grand jury indicted Ford and Peters on Thursday, March 16.

“Warren County Drug Task Force assisted DEA in this investigation and traced the controlled substance mentioned in this press release to bath salts that were distributed throughout Warren County,” WCDTF Special Agent Bill Mickle said Monday.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ford and Peters “possessed with intent to distribute Dibutylone HCl, a controlled substance, and Alpha-PHP, an analogue of a controlled substance.”

Mickle said those chemicals are commonly known as ‘bath salts.’

“The indictment further alleges that Ford and Peters conspired to launder money internationally by wiring money to China to promote the distribution of controlled substances or analogues,” according to the release.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service — Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were also involved in the investigation.

“If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine,” according to the release. “This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.”

Mickle said further details about the case could not be revealed because it is still in the indictment phase.