Monday, December 15, 2014

Two Olathe residents plead guilty to operating multimillion-dollar designer drug business

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Two Kansans pleaded guilty Monday to operating a synthetic drug business that generated at least $16 million in sales in less than two years, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Tracy Picanso, 58, Olathe, Kan., and Roy Ehrett, 56, Olathe, Kan., each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of producing and selling misbranded drugs, one count of producing and selling counterfeit drugs and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

An indictment unsealed in April alleged Picanso and 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.

Sentencing is set for April 13. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence between 7 and 15 years in federal prison.

Grissom 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 and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway for her work on the case.