Remaining defendants sentenced in designer drug case

Two defendants who appeared in federal court Monday in Kansas City, Kansas, were the last ones to be sentenced in a Kansas-based synthetic drug trafficking operation that generated $16 million in sales in less than two years, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

On Monday, Taylor Loeffler, 29, Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and Melissa Gelston, 27, Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to three months in prison and nine months home detention. The case included connections to an Olathe, Kansas, business.

Last week, five other defendants were sentenced, including:

Heather Perez, 32, Riverside, Calif., two years on supervised release.
Cindy McRoberts, 51, Lees Summit, Mo., 30 months in federal prison.
Michaela Hackley, 31, Oak Grove, Mo., 12 months and a day.
Phillip Hackley, 36, Oak Grove, Mo. two years on supervised release.
Christopher Freemyer, 29, Adrian, Mo., one year on supervised release.

The leaders of the drug trafficking conspiracy, Tracy Picanso and Roy Ehrett, owned an Olathe-based business producing and selling dangerous controlled substances and controlled substance analogues of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and methcathinones (stimulants).

They sold products under exotic names including Pump It, Head Trip, Black Arts, Grave Digger, Voodoo Doll and Lights Out. Some of the drugs were manufactured in buckets with drill-powered immersion mixers and tried out on “testers” who helped tweak the recipes by reporting on the drugs’ effects.

The operation stretched from Kansas to Missouri, California, Texas, Georgia and Colorado, involving more than 15 companies with more than 40 financial accounts at more than 10 financial institutions.

Businesses owned and operated by the defendants included Retailing Specialists, Innovative Products 4U, The Outer Edge, Lakeridge Holdings, Monster Warehouse, Monster Distribution, Monster, 3P Distribution and Life Source.

Beall commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, the Overland Park Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Olathe Police Department, the St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway, and Michael Varrone, associate chief counsel at the Food and Drug Administration for their work on the case.

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