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N. Huntingdon man charged over 'bath salts'

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A North Huntingdon man used the U.S. Postal Service to ship synthetic drugs from China to an apartment building in Jeannette before he was apprehended, police said.

Samuel Atlee Padgett, 20, of Colonial Manor Road is charged with possession and intent to deliver 1,000 grams of “bath salts,” the common name for the synthetic stimulant.

The U.S. Postal Inspector and Homeland Security contacted state police about a suspicious package at the Jeannette Post office that had been shipped from China and addressed to “Sammy Padgett, 105 N. Third Street, Jeannette.”

The manifest for the parcel said it contained “beta zeolite,” police said.

The investigators were told that this was the third parcel from China that “Sammy Padgett” had received. The other two could not be delivered to the Jeannette apartment building because “Sammy Padgett” is not listed as a resident there.

Although they resemble legal substances such as epsom salts, bath salts are chemically different. In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Agency banned several key chemicals used in bath salts, which mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.

According to state police, China-based companies often ship synthetic drugs to the United States. Because of that knowledge, the package was opened by an employee authorized to open international packages for inspection. It contained 1,000 grams of synthetic stimulant, known as bath salts, police said.

The package was then resealed.

On April 8, Padgett arrived at the post office and was arrested when he tried to leave with the suspicious package, police said.

Trooper Joshua Giran asked Padgett to step to the side of the front of the entrance. According to Giran, Padgett claimed that the box contained CDs.

Giran told Padgett he knew what was in the package and Padgett replied, “It is legal and you can talk to my attorney,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Charges were filed against Padgett before District Judge Joseph R. Demarchis.

Kate Wilcox is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or kwilcox@tribweb.com.

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