The Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday the arrest of three men, including one from Moorpark, on suspicion of possession, selling and distribution of "bath salts."
Joshua Wright, 36, of Moorpark, the owner of Doughmain head shops in Moorpark and Thousand Oaks, was arrested along with Brandon Sarrail, 26, of Simi Valley and Jonathan Riedel, 31, of West Jordan, Utah.
Bath salt is the street name for illicit, synthetic stimulants containing methamphetamine-like substances. They are potent, addictive, and extremely dangerous, warned the Sheriff's Department. While they are packaged and sold to look like legitimate products that are legal to sell or possess, they are not. Bath salts are marketed under names such as Blizzard, Bliss, Blue Silk, Ivory Snow, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, White Knight, Pump It, Amped, and Bubbles.
The alleged distribution took place through two Eastern Ventura County head shops—stores that primarily sell products used by recreational drug users, such as glass smoking pipes.
"The shops operate in a legal gray area, because many of their products can be used to smoke or ingest either illegal drugs or tobacco," a statement issued by the Sheriff's Department said.
Investigation into the Doughmain shops began after a Moorpark woman who crashed her car into a residence in June told deputies she had used bath salts purchased at the Moorpark store, the statement said.
Over the summer, undercover detectives were able to purchase five types of bath salts from the Moorpark store, located in the Campus Plaza on Collins Drive, and two types from the Thousand Oaks store, according to the statement, which went on to say in September, investigators served search warrants at both stores as well as Wright's residence, and seized hudreds of packages of bath salts, spice and other synthetic stimulants.
The investigation also revealed a connection to Riedel in Utah, who, the department said, was supplying bath salts to Doughmain. A coordinated investigation between VCSD and the West Jordan Police Department resulted in the seizure of hundreds of pounds of plants, powders and pills, a vehicle, $22,000 in cash and silver valued at $23,000, the Sheriff's statement said.