Alleged Bath Salts Ring Busted

Authorities say "bath salts" and other synthetic drugs were sold in three states from an Allentown-based distributor.

The owner of an Allentown distribution business and the operators of five gas stations and convenience stores in Montgomery and Lehigh counties are among 15 people who have been arrested in connection with an organization that allegedly distributed "bath salts" and other synthetic drugs throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, authorities said Thursday. 

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said the arrests were the culmination of a year-long investigation involving the Lehigh County District Attorney's office and a number of municipal police forces in both counties. 

Ferman described Kenneth Zak Grossman, 52, of Allentown, the owner of J & L Wholesale Distributors, as the "head" of the organization, which authorities said supplied retail outlets with "bath salts," synthetic marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and associated drug paraphernalia after those substances became illegal to sell or possess in Pennsylvania in August 2011. 

Ferman said the investigation that led to J & L Wholesale Distributors involved the creation of a artificial "front" business in Souderton, from which undercover detectives visited J & L on multiple occasions over a period of several months in order to negotiate the wholesale purchase of banned substances. 

During a July 25 raid, Ferman said, authorities seized "two tractor-trailers" of contraband in addition to more than $900,000 in suspected proceeds, which Ferman said represented just two days' production of the organization's activity. 

"That tells me this is a big business," Ferman said. 

In addition to the drugs themselves, J & L allegedly sold various items intended to conceal drugs from casual observation, such as wall clocks with hidden compartments and containers made to resemble cans of common household goods, such as artificial coffee creamer and WD-40 brand lubricant.

Ferman was particularly critical of the packaging of many of the narcotics, which employed the use of logos and names that she said were intended to attract younger buyers. She displayed two packets of alleged narcotics, one labeled "Scooby Snacks" and another decorated with "Batman" logos.

"These are designed to appeal to young people," Ferman said. "We are trying to get the message out there that these substances are not safe."

In addition to Grossman, the following people have been charged in connection with the alleged organization:

  • Jason Grossman, 24, Bethlehem, PA
  • Mangat Malwinder, 26, Leesport, PA
  • Rajwant Singh Thind, 30, Orefield, PA
  • Mohammad F. Rahman, 42, Lansdale, PA
  • Ibrahim Fayez Saloum, 31, Schwenksville, PA
  • Amy Nichole Velasquez, 30, Schwenksville, PA
  • Kunal G. Patel, 42, Allentown, PA
  • Jaymin G. Patel, 45, Allentown, PA
  • Yashvant M. Patel, 49, East Greenville, PA
  • Yogesh Patel, 45, East Greenville, PA
  • Lisa Zupa, 35, Palmerton, PA
  • Jeffrey Robertson, Jr., 25, Breingsville, PA
  • Dean A. Fenstermaker, Jr., 29, Allentown, PA
  • Abdulah F. Soonasra, 64, Alburtis, PA

View copies of the criminal complaints, the detectives' affadavit, and other documents associated with this case in this article's PDF section.

The defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon by District Judge Catherine Hummel-Fried in Red Hill.

Marguerite Sexton September 06, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Oh boy. I am so out of it, I couldn't even imagine what could be wrong with bath salts.
LTFD September 06, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Hmm, it's like to who's who of the local Al Quaeda. Revoke visa or citizenship and deport.
Blind Dog September 06, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Bummer. Now I gotta venture outside my hometown of Schwenksville to get my Scooby Snacks. What's the world coming to?
Mohandus Frieri September 06, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Here's some photo ID.
Golden Cockroach September 06, 2012 at 07:48 PM
And yet.... Rafi Ali, owner of the Achi store, 315 E. High St., Pottstown and store clerk Mohamed Himed are charged with selling K-2 to under covers after the tragic, fatal accident in May and they ARE STILL DOING BUSINESS IN P.TOWN??? How are they enabled to do this and why??? I've been told that they also opened a second location on the 400 blk of Charlotte St. while out on bond. http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120702/NEWS01/120709915/store-duo-charged-with-selling-k2-to-driver-in-fatal-crash-(video)
Sad One September 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
See the 20/20 show from 2012 on bath salts; your blood will curdle from just learning about how easy to purchase --and 100% deadly--they are. Tragic.
SMYRNA-X September 07, 2012 at 02:48 AM
The govt hates competition. Alcohol, which is a drug, is legal in so far as the govt profits. State stores, excessive taxes, ect. Same for tobacco. Gambling, is allowed at casinos (which the state plunders), and lottery of all sorts. If you tried to pay your bills the way pa does, you would be a criminal bootlegger, and numbers runner.
Roy Martin September 07, 2012 at 10:59 AM
There's gotta be a Philly connection here. Philadelphia is a "cancer on Pennsylvania"!
Blind Dog September 07, 2012 at 11:48 AM
There's definitely a Philly connection. Now I gotta go to Philly to get my Scooby Snacks.
Grumpy old kook September 07, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Roy- relax you old kook. If you don't like Philly don't go there, you post in every story about how it's Philly's fault. Go live in a tree house. You're old go away!
Grumpy old kook September 07, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I think Roy m. is upset because he is going to have to travel to get his fix of salts. Calm down roy, you are too old to be playing around w/ salts.
Sara September 07, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Do you have any idea what "bath salts" once taken, does to the taker? Haven't you heard about that naked man who ate the face of his victim? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/26/naked-man-eating-victims-face-killed-miami_n_1548359.html
Aquapop September 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Dog, you never let me down. :)
john trigg September 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Im sorry, maybe I am way way way out of the loop here. But when they say "bath salts" are they speaking about a slang term for something or are they literally talking about the stuff you put into a bathtub when a woman takes a bath or into a jacuzzi? I could probably spend a while researching but this will probably give me a faster answer. Thanks.
Stephen Eickhoff September 07, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Not bath salts-- "bath salts". Google it.
Aquaticavenger September 08, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Why don't they just legalize pot so people don't have to use funky stuff like bath salts. Pot is natural at least and it's probably better for you than drinking, meth, bath salts, etc.
Invisible September 09, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Exactly and the sad part is that the manufacturers are sending lab reports on these products saying they are legall In the state of Pennsylvania so who really is to blame and it's not just that they are saying all tobacco pipes grinders and etc ect are also illegal I could probably get all this bullshit from any corner store don't just ban some of these spices ban them fucken all I'm sorry but you no what it is not fair
Joker September 25, 2012 at 11:42 PM
http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/07/clemson_university_professor_c.html The federal government funded research which created "synthetic marijuana" which kills people. Natural marijuana does not cause deaths from overdose or adverse drug reaction. " But many may be surprised to learn that some of the most commonly used formulas for fake pot were created by an American professor conducting research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Former Clemson University chemistry professor Dr. John W. Huffman is the namesake of JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-200, three of the synthetic cannabinoids banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2011. "The National Institute of Drug Abuse wanted to research marijuana," said Dr. Victor Tuckler, the emergency room toxicologist at Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans. "They were looking at different receptors of the brain to see if they could come up with a way that people wouldn't get addicted to this stuff." "Who knows how this got out," Tuckler said. "Pretty soon, it's on the Internet and people are making it over in China."
Happyfeet September 27, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I just found out that one of these men are my neighbors.. Furious!! He has families coming here from out of the country feeding off of our welfare systems while he makes a living selling drugs !
ted williams October 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I wonder if Jaymin G Patel still has his Federal Firearms License to sell full auto firearms on 1317 Hamilton St #B2 Allentown, PA 18102. It should be revoked if he still has it. Hmm, are the ATF even aware of his arrest.


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