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2 Pennsylvania residents charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance

SCRANTON, Pa. — Two Pennsylvania residents who allegedly conspired to distribute bath salts were arrested Wednesday after being indicted by a federal grand jury July 9. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Pennsylvania State Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the West Pittston Police Department, the Jenkins Township Police Department and the Pittston City Police Department.

Todd Morgans, 34, and Christine Policare, 20, both of West Pittston, were charged by the grand jury with conspiracy to distribute bath salts, a controlled substance, otherwise known as alpha- Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), which is a controlled substance analogue of Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The offense allegedly occurred between December 2011 and July 2013 in and around West Pittston and nearby communities in Luzerne County.

In conjunction with the arrests, a federal search warrant was executed by the Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team. The entry team encountered fortified doors and counter surveillance equipment believed to be installed to evade law enforcement. Investigators seized approximately 2,000 grams of alpha-PVP, drug packaging materials, scales, three firearms, ammunition and approximately $40,000 in cash.

Based on what was found at the residence and information obtained during the investigation, the alleged drug distribution ring is allegedly linked to the Aryan Brotherhood organization. White supremacist paraphernalia was found in the residence. The residence was allegedly the main location for the organization's distribution of bath salts and the meeting place for an Aryan Brotherhood Chapter led by Morgans. The investigation of this organization remains ongoing.

The bath salts and MDPV analogues are highly dangerous drugs, often causing extreme irrational behavior on the part of the individuals who use them, increasing the potential for harm to residents and other innocent bystanders. As a result, a dwelling used as a storage or distribution site for such drugs is both a public safety and health hazard. The substance appears to come to the United States from Asia. Finding the source of the drugs is part of the ongoing investigation.

If convicted, each individual faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.