Synthetic drugs called "bath salts" are here in Austin. The Drug Enforcement Administration recently made the largest "bath salts" bust in the area. They expect more arrests to follow.
Sixth Street is a fun place to party and its places like this that law enforcement officials say "bath salts" are popping up. They say this week's arrest in Austin was just the beginning.
"Make no doubt about it. It has nothing to do with taking a bath or with salts," said DEA agent Greg Thrash.
On Wednesday, at an apartment complex off Parmer Lane, The Drug Enforcement Administration's Pharmaceutical Squad showed up and arrested 27-year-old Jessie Olivieri.
DEA agents say Olivieri purchased methylone from China for roughly $2,000 per kilogram. A law enforcement official dressed up as a postal worker, delivered the package and took Olivieri into custody.
"[It] started with a tip from our office out of New Jersey," said Thrash.
Agents confiscated a total of 3 kilograms of methylone and other illegal drugs including cocaine, as well as paraphnilia to package the drug in these capsules.
"Then subsequently distributed items through clubs and raves and so forth through Texas," said Thrash.
Olivieri had three firearms. One was reported stolen from a San Antonio Police officer. Olivieri's involvement in the theft is unknown.
This arrest is the largest in the Austin area and part of operation log jam, a nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs. The drug recently became illegal.
DEA agents say bath salts do not refer to a single chemical but the effects are similar to cocaine and LSD. Still, not many people know much about the dangerous drug.
Strange stories of people on bath salts have emerged over the last few months. Locally, in June 2011, 26-year-old Jaime Minor died when she tried climbing through a ventilation duct at Perry's Steakhouse and Grille in downtown Austin. She was found stuck the ventilation duct. MPDV was found in her system, which is another type of "bath salts". It's unclear if there's a direct correlation with the drugs and her actions. But law enforcement knows these drugs are dangerous.
The DEA is monitoring the situation and expect to make more arrests. "Bath salts" cannot be purchased at head shops because they're illegal. The DEA says the drug is deemed worthless for human consumption, they have no medicinal purposes.