— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
The RCMP says an analysis of a substance seized Monday thought to be bath salts is actually Phenacetin, a substance prohibited under the Food and Drug Act.
On Monday, the St. John's RCMP Drug Section executed a search warrant where a powdered substance which has similar properties to "bath salts" was seized.
In consultation with the Crown, direction was received to lay a charge for "bath salts" but an analysis of the powder has determined it is actually Phenacetin, a substance that is prohibited under the Food and Drug Act.
Charges of conspiracy to traffick marijuana, conspiracy to traffick cocaine and trafficking marijuana are among the charges laid against six individuals, including:
• Tan Tai Huynh, 42 of Montreal;
• Alex Prefontaine, 31, of Morin-Heights;
• Charles Noftall, 35, of St. John's;
• Rodney Noseworthy, 36, of Mount Pearl;
• Uriah Alcock, 28, St. John's;
• Frank Whelan, 50, of North West Brook.
There is also two outstanding warrants of arrest for another male and a female.
The RCMP say the investigation is continuing.
The accused are all due back in court April 18.
It was an unusual spot to find illegal drugs.
But RCMP officers discovered 25 kilograms of what they suspect is bath salts — packaged in 50 baggies — in the fuel tank of a pickup truck in St. John’s Monday.
It’s believed to be one of the biggest seizures of bath salts in the province.
Police also seized a smaller amount of marijuana.
In all, six men — including four from this province — have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to traffic in illegal drugs.
Rodney Noseworthy of Mount Pearl, Uriah (a.k.a. Ray) Alcock and Charlie Noftall, both of St. John’s, and Frank Whalen of Northwest Brook, along with Tan Tai Huynh and Alex Prefontaine of Quebec, appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Tuesday afternoon.
Crown prosecutor Trevor Bridger agreed to have Noseworthy and Alcock released from custody — Noseworthy with a $20,000 cash deposit and Alcock with $3,000.
They’re due back in court April 18.
Noftall, Whalen and Prefontaine have a bail hearing scheduled for today. Huynh’s bail hearing is set for Friday.
The six were charged as a result of an RCMP drug investigation, dubbed Operation Baffle, which involved the bath salts trafficking conspiracy and a separate marijuana trafficking conspiracy.
Noseworthy is the only one to be charged in connection with both conspiracies.
Noseworthy, 36, Noftall, 35, Prefontaine, 31, and Huynh, 42, face three counts of conspiring to traffic in bath salts.
Noseworthy also faces three charges of conspiring to traffic in marijuana, along with Alcock, 28, and Whalen, 50.
The six men were arrested Monday in various parts of the capital city.
Besides the drugs, police also seized three vehicles, including the pickup truck in which officers found the bath salts.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada’s Drugs and Substances Act, bath salts is known as methylenedioxpyrovalerone (MDPV).
According to Health Canada, bath salts (also known as synthetic cathinones) are man-made designer drugs that produce both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.
It’s often sold as white crystalline powders, but can also be sold as capsules or tablets.
It’s believed the men were selling bath salts as cocaine.
The drugs have been sent to the mainland for analysis to confirm they are bath salts. The investigation is ongoing.