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According to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri, a St. Peter’s man was more than 15 years in prison for his role in distributing controlled substance analogues to suppliers across the United States. According to the announcement, Charles Wolfe, 57, participated in a large-scale analogue trafficking operation involving at least six co-conspirators who have already received sentences or entered guilty pleas.
Court documents revealed that Wolfe primarily distributed synthetic cannabinoids and a wide variety of cathinones. He supplied, the Attorney’s Office announcement claimed, the “equivalent of over 481,000 kilograms of marijuana.” This calculation, as bizarre as it may seem, came from the government’s calculation of the synthetic cannabinoid potency by compared to the equivalent potency of X weight of marijuana. In this case, the government compared the potency of JWH-018, AKB48, UR-144, XLR11, and 5F-PB-22 with the potency of THC.
Several suppliers worked for Wolfe; Wolfe introduced co-defendants Michael Lentsch, Brett Beeman, Robert Jaynes, Samuel Leinicke, and Roy Ehrett to precursor chemical suppliers in China. The co-defendants—according to the indictments and guilty pleas from several of the co-defendants’ cases—converted the precursor chemicals into drugs that mimicked controlled substances. The majority of the co-defendants created cannabinoid analogues, such as those listed above. Some, however, created alpha-PVP aka α-PVP, a stimulant colloquially called “bath salts.” People, including the U.S. Attorneys, have used the bath salts terminology in reference to hundreds of designer drugs.
Next, the co-conspirators would liquefy some the chemicals that readily evaporate (usually denatured alcohol or acetone). Then, other conspirators would spray the liquified analogues on various smokeable plant material (often Damiana). The solvent then evaporated, leaving dried plant material with a cannabinoid analogue. Conspirators then packaged the product and shipped them to Wolfe.
Wolfe, in turn, sold the products to buyers across the United States using the United States Postal Service. Often, when buyers purchased in bulk, Wolfe shipped from his front business, Psychedelic Blur, LLC. He sold the products under the names “Devil’s Dank,” “Grave Digger,” “Mad Hatter,” “Freedom,” and many other names. He also shipped the pure products to some buyers in bulk. Another conspirator, Anwer Rao, imported synthetic cathinones from China—under Wolfe’s direction—and packaged them under the name “Go Go.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office highlighted the risks often associated with the use of some novel substances. Federal investigators could not link Wolfe’s products to fatal overdoses. The announcement described other “overdoses” as well, though, including dizziness and vomiting.
Wolfe was sentenced to 186 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy drug trafficking and money laundering last year.