The two men owned a business in Olathe, Kansas, that produced and sold analogues of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and stimulants known as methcathinones.
The products they sold had names such as Pump It, Head Trip, Black Arts, Grave Digger, Voodoo Doll and Lights Out. The manufacturing process involved buckets with drill-powered immersion mixers. The drugs were tried out on “testers” who helped tweak the recipes by reporting on the drugs’ effects.
The operation run by Tracy Picanso, 58, and Roy Ehrett, 56, included businesses named Retailing Specialists, Innovative Products 4U, The Outer Edge, Lakeridge Holdings, Monster Warehouse, Monster Distribution, Monster, 3P Distribution and Life Source. Their empire of at least 15 companies stretched from Kansas to Missouri, California, Texas, Georgia and Colorado. Sales amounted to some $16 million in less than two years.
Picanso and Ehrett each pleaded guilty to conspiracy, producing and selling misbranded and counterfeit drugs, and money laundering.
Sentencing is set for April 2015. The sentences will range from 7 to 15 years in prison.
In other illegal drug activity:
- Kyle Andrew Everhart of Tacoma, Washington, was arrested in a hotel room with two large bags containing as much as $200,000 worth of methamphetamine pills. He was given a sentence of 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute. At sentencing, the judge noted that methamphetamine is “highly addictive” and a “poison.”
- A Petersburg, Virginia, man is going away for 210 months for the crime of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Shawn Rives, 33, was indicted in October 2013. He failed to appear at an arraignment a month later and an arrest warrant was issued. Rives remained a fugitive until February 2014 when he was arrested at an apartment complex in Richmond, Virginia. As officers entered the apartment, Rives kicked through the drywall of a closet, squeezed through the wall, and entered the adjacent apartment through the bedroom closet, where he tried to hide.
- S. Postal Service employee Terry D. Ricley, 44, of Burlingame, Kansas, was indicted on a charge of stealing prescription medication from the mail. He allegedly swiped packages of Hydrocodone and Tramadol going through the post office. If convicted, he faces five years in prison and a hefty fine.