Three charged with trafficking in ‘bath salts’

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2014

ROCKWELL — Three people face drug trafficking charges after investigators say they were caught with designer drugs called “bath salts.”
Michael Todd Bramblett, 44; his father Bobby Ray Bramblett, 73; and Michael Bramblett’s ex-wife, Marian Michelle Jones, 35, are all charged with trafficking by possession in the precursor chemical used to make bath salts and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances. Bobby Bramblett is also charged with trafficking in opium by possession.
They all remain in the Rowan County jail under $500,000 secured bonds.
According to a news release from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the arrests came Thursday after members of the department’s Special Investigations Unit and the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Unit executed a state-issued search warrant at Michael Bramblett’s home on Alana Drive in Rockwell.
The sheriff’s office had received a tip that Michael Bramblett was distributing large amounts of bath salts from his house and a former business in which he was involved in China Grove. 
During their search of the home, deputies located numerous items used in the cutting and packaging of bath salts for distribution, the news release said.
Bath salts is a term used to describe a number of designer drugs that cause effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine. The name derives from instances in which the drugs were being sold under the guise of being bath salts.
The drug’s white crystals often resemble legal bathing products like Epsom salts, but are chemically disparate from actual bath salts. Bath salts are typically made of the chemical methylenedioxypyrovalerone, a Schedule I controlled substance that can cause physical and psychological harm in the human body.
The bath salt crystals seized this week are believed to have originated in China and were mailed to the defendant’s home through the U.S. Postal Service. The bath salts were shipped under the guise of being a legal substance under another name. Field testing of the substance showed positive for the illegal bath salts. Materials used to dilute the bath salts were found inside the house along with numerous small plastic bags and scales used in the weighing and packaging of the illegal drugs.
Deputies seized about 2 ounces of suspected bath salts, which appeared to be undiluted, as well as 10 small plastic bags that appeared to contain diluted bath salts.
Deputies also located a .25-caliber handgun and a .410 shotgun inside the house, with the handgun near where the bath salts were being packaged. In addition, deputies located a prescription bottle containing 49 suspected Oxycodone tablets.
A total of $458 in cash was also recovered.
Authorities ask anyone with information about bath-salt distribution to contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700 or their local law enforcement agency.