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4 men arrested and charged with distribution of bath salts

NEWARK, N.J. — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested four men in connection with a scheme to allegedly distribute large amounts of a controlled substance known as bath salts.

Kyle Jobes, 23, of East Brunswick, N.J., and Charles Knierim, 24, of Old Bridge, N.J., were arrested March 14. Benjamin Caturano, 22, of New Brunswick, N.J., and Conor Healion, 22, of West Hempstead, N.Y., were arrested March 15. They were all charged in connection in a conspiracy to distribute methylenedioxypryovalerone (MDPV) – commonly referred to as bath salts – in New Jersey and New York.

Bath salts is the street name for a family of designer drugs that have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine. Their white and yellow crystals often resemble legal bath salts, like Epsom salts, but are chemically different.

According to court documents, the investigation was centered on a package containing approximately two kilograms of MDPV that was intercepted by law enforcement.

The package originated in China and was supposed to be shipped to an address in Old Bridge. HSI special agents delivered the package March 14 to the address and watched over the next two days as Knierim, Jobes, Caturano and Healion transferred the package among them.

After their arrests, a number of the defendants admitted that they had distributed multiple kilograms of bath salts over the past year and that some of the drugs were sold at local college campuses.

In addition, HSI special agents seized more than $90,000 in cash and two luxury automobiles obtained with proceeds from the drug conspiracy.

HSI was assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Middlesex County (N.J.) Prosecutors Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.