HARRISONBURG — A business owner accused of participating in a bath salts distribution ring out of his adult store in Harrisonburg plans to plead guilty, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors filed a plea agreement Wednesday for the owner of Pamela’s Secrets, Augustus George Julias II, 49, in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.
Julias and employee Jeremy B. King, 48, of Broadway, are charged with one felony count of conspiracy to distribute alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone. The substance is a synthetic drug used to manufacture bath salts, which for some users produces a high similar to cocaine or speed.
King is scheduled to go on trial July 29. A date for Julias’ plea hearing hasn’t been scheduled as of Wednesday. Both face up to 20 years in prison.
Julias, King and a third man, Matthew L. Comer, 33, were arrested on federal charges Oct. 1. Comer was ordered held without bond, while Julias and King were released from jail on bond.
The charges against the three men stem from two raids by the RUSH Drug Task Force at Pamela’s Secrets on April 30, 2012, and again on May 26, 2012. In each raid, police hauled out a large quantity of suspected bath salts.
The three initially faced state charges but those were dismissed when a federal grand jury indicted the defendants.
On April 17, Comer pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 18. He also faces up to 20 years in prison.
In addition, Comer has a probation violation in state court, which could lead to more prison time.
On Tuesday, King’s defense attorney, Roland Santos, filed a motion asking a judge to prohibit evidence of the drug-related death of a Timberville man, Dale Dove Jr., in April 2012 and a May 2012 car crash that seriously injured Ashley Whitmer, an Ottobine resident.
In his motion, Santos stated that the evidence is not relevant to the charge his client faces and would be prejudicial to the jury. The motion states that Dove’s friend told investigators that he went to Dove’s apartment in Timberville on April 30 to inject bath salts.
The friend told investigators that he purchased three containers of bath salts from Pamela’s Secrets that day and brought them to Dove’s apartment, the motion states.
The friend told police Dove had his own baths salts, which they mixed with the drugs that were brought to the home. The motion states it’s unclear where Dove’s bath salts were purchased.
“After injecting bath salts, Dove began acting erratically and ran out of the apartment,” the motion states. “He went to a residence on Walnut Drive, a short distance away, and went into a residence, causing the occupants to call the police. When the police responded, they found Dove in the backyard, ‘under the influence of some type of drug,’ complaining that his heart hurt.”
The motion states that as the rescue squad drove Dove to Rockingham Memorial Hospital he went into cardiac arrest and couldn’t be revived.
The medical examiner ruled Dove died from ingesting alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone.
On May 26, 2012, around 10:15 p.m., a Bridgewater police officer noticed a SUV parked at the Bridgewater Car Wash.
The motion states that as the officer approached the car, Whitmer got out of the vehicle and appeared to be intoxicated. She then fled the scene in her car and later crashed into a concrete building at the Cargill plant in Dayton.
Whitmer’s mother told police that her daughter purchased bath salts from Pamela’s Secrets and an unidentified Waynesboro store. The mother said her daughter, who was seriously injured in the crash, was high on bath salts at the time of the crash.
As of Wednesday, prosecutors haven’t filed a response to the motion.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org