Everett man arrested in bath salts drug ring bust

Everett man arrested in bath salts drug ring bust »Play Video
SEATTLE -- An Everett man has been charged with supplying a major bath salts drug ring that brought in millions of dollars.

Federal drug agents arrested Miguel Ashby Tuesday as a part of a big bust out of New York, but the Problem Solvers started investigating him earlier this month after receiving a tip that he was allegedly a major wholesaler of these drugs.

KOMO News has been investigating Ashby and his company Ascension Therapeutics ever since our undercover cameras found their products two weeks ago at a local smoke shop.

That was more than a month after a Problem Solvers investigation prompted the state Board of Pharmacy to pass an emergency ban, making these drugs illegal.

"I'm very concerned, and the board is very concerned about public safety and the risk," said Susan Teil Boyer of the Board of Pharmacy. "These are bad products, and I'm worried about kids getting into them."

The effects of this designer drug vary, but can be similar to cocaine or methamphetamine. Poison control experts say the effects are unpredictable and can also cause psychotic episodes.

"There's absolutely no product testing of this, so as a consumer. you have absolutely no idea what is actually in that product," said Jim Williams of the Poison Control Center.

The Drug Enforcement Agency arrested Ashby in Seattle in connection with an undercover operation in New York where he was allegedly a major distributor of bath salts.

Charging documents say Ashby allegedly had more than 36 kilos of the drug. Altogether, the DEA says it seized 40 kilos of the drug worth more than $2 million on the street.

A neighbor at Ashby's last known address in Everett told KOMO News Ashby had told him that he sold bath salts.

That's also what a Seattle smoke shop owner told KOMO News earlier this month when asked why he was carrying bath salts when the state had banned them. He blamed it on distributors and said a local man named Miguel from Ascension Therapeutics kept dropping samples by even though the owner didn't want them.

The federal case charges Ashby with purchasing the designer drug in bulk from China, then repackaging and selling them.

Ashby is due in federal court Friday for a detention hearing. A judge will decide how quickly he must appear in New York.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.