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Northeast Ohio pair indicted for trafficking bath salts

CLEVELAND – Two Cleveland-area residents were indicted Wednesday on charges of intent to distribute bath salts. The charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Portage County Drug Task Force and the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation revealed that Ryan Kralik, 32, of Newton Falls, Ohio, and Ruth Eimers, 36, of Ravenna, Ohio, operated a website named freshsalts.com, which offered 10 to 15 different types of bath salts for sale, ranging in price from $29 to $59. Customers could also purchase bulk amounts of bath salts from the website from $299 to $459. Detroit-based HSI Special Response Team members arrested the defendants without incident at a Newton Falls residence early Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Eimers assisted Kralik with distribution shipments and bookkeeping. The pair marketed bath salts with names similar to slang terms for cocaine and heroin, such as "Eightballz Extreme," "Faux-Caine" and "Zombie Girls Extra Strength," among others. Customers who purchased bath salts from the website were required to pay with money orders or cashier’s checks to R.M. Kralik; Western Union wire transfers to "Ryan Kralik" in Warren, Ohio; or by cash sent to "FGS" at a P.O. Box in Diamond, Ohio.

"People continue to come up with new ways to poison our children, as long as they think there is money to be made," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said. "These are very dangerous synthetic drugs that have nothing to do with baths or salt and everything to do with risky behavior."

"These indictments deal a blow to the individuals and criminal groups involved in the distribution of dangerous synthetic drugs in Northeast Ohio. The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits," said William Hayes, acting special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to help keep this poison off the streets."

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Dirksen.