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Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to bath salts distribution conspiracy

PHILADELPHIA — A Luzerne County man pleaded guilty March 4 for his role in a conspiracy to distribute "bath salts" following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Pennsylvania State Police and the West Pittston Police Department.

Todd Morgans, 34, of West Pittston, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (A-PVP), an analogue of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) before U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion. A-PVP is a synthetic cathinone which is included in a family of abused drugs commonly known as "bath salts."

A controlled substance analogue is a drug which has not been scheduled under The Controlled Substances Act but shares a substantially similar chemical structure as a scheduled drug, and has a substantially similar stimulant or hallucinogenic effect on a person's central nervous system. Additionally, the government must also establish that the drug was distributed for human consumption. The Controlled Substances Act provides that controlled substance analogues shall be treated as if the substance were the scheduled drug for prosecution and sentencing purposes.

The plea agreement provides that Morgans will accept the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines enhancement that is applicable when the death or seriously bodily injury of another results from the use of the controlled substance. The investigation surrounding the death of Jason Folweiler remains ongoing.

Morgans has agreed to forfeit an automobile, the contents of his bank account, $40,000 in currency HSI special agents seized from the defendant's home and a silver bar.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Amy C. Phillips in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.