Dragon's Den bath salt seller faces 20-year sentence

Carlo Ernesto D'Addario, the 42-year-old Baltimore man accused in Virginia federal court of selling illegal synthetic drugs known as "bath salts" out of the Dragon's Den Smoke Shop in Fells Point ("Under Cover in the Dragon's Den," Mobtown Beat, May 30), pleaded guilty Oct. 31 to conspiracy drug charges. He faces a maximum 20-year sentence and/or a $1,000,000 fine, according to a Virginia U.S. Attorney's Office press release.

D'Addario's co-defendant, Holly Renae Sprouse of Craigsville, Va., cooperated with authorities investigating the case. After pleading guilty in May, Sprouse-whose abuse of synthetic drugs was detailed in court documents, as were the personal tragedies that resulted-was sentenced in August to 20 months in prison ("Bath Time," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 22), weeks after a cross-country series of federal raids, dubbed "Operation Log Jam," aimed to debilitate the synthetic-drug supply chain. Two Baltimore-area smoke shops-the Dragon's Den and the Tobacco Shop in Bel Air-figured in Operation Log Jam's successful effort to raid M&C Wholesale, a Laguna Niguel, Calif., company suspected of supplying synthetic pot to head shops ("Spicing It Up," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 29).

According to D'Addario's plea, he admits to selling "bath salts" out of the Dragon's Den twice, on Dec. 13, 2011 and on Jan. 10, 2012, to customers he thought were connected to Sprouse, but, in fact, were an undercover investigator and a Baltimore-based "confidential source." The total weight of the four varieties of synthetic drugs he sold in these transactions-which had brand names such as "Speedy Gonzalez," "Incredible Hulk," "Taz," and "Bugs Bunny"-comes to 261 grams.

"Mr. D'Addario endangered the health and safety of Virginians when he imported synthetic drugs into our communities," United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a press release. "These substances are volatile and dangerous, as reflected in a recent surge in emergency room visits and violent outbursts by users."

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