DEA Agents Pretended to Be Hells Angels to Bust Phoenix Bath Salts Manufacturers

Categories: Drug War
See also: DEA Makes Raids Nationwide for Making Chemicals Similar to Illegal Drugs

bath-salts-madness.jpg
campusbasement.com
The Drug Enforcement Administration's nationwide "synthetic drug takedown" led to the arrest of five Valley men this week.

Two of the men were uncovered by DEA sources, two were busted by DEA agents pretending to be members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, and the fifth man was caught because NBC's Chris Hansen had already caught him before.

Seventeen search warrants were reportedly served in Arizona, but the U.S. Attorney's Office says just five people in the Phoenix area have been arrested -- all for manufacturing and selling the chemicals known as "bath salts."

According to federal court documents, the five men were not dealing in chemicals that are explicitly illegal, but the feds are going after them with the Federal Analog Act, since the chemicals are "substantially similar" to drugs that are actually illegal.

Even an affidavit submitted by a Phoenix DEA agent in the case explains that at least two of the five men "...discussed, in substance and among other things, the fact that their distribution of the various products is purportedly legal, that they do not allegedly ship or send such products to states where they believe their products to be illegal, and that they have purported to have received legal counsel and advice indicating that their activities are legal."

Too bad. Clinton Strunk, 42, of Mesa; Michael Lane, 51, of Cave Creek; Andrew Freeman, 25, of Tempe; Nicholas Zizzo, 25, of Phoenix; and Joshua Lowenstein, 25, of Phoenix could each spend years behind bars.

According to the DEA agent's affidavit, the agency started investigating an unidentified person for drug trafficking through a New Hampshire port at some point in 2011.

The two DEA agents posing as Hells Angels gangsters had numerous meetings with this person, who eventually revealed he was a partner in a Phoenix bath salts operation with Zizzo, manufacturing a product called "Eight Ballz."

This story was confirmed by another person, according to the affidavit, and both of the unnamed partners agreed to go into business with the fake Angels, under the guise that they were going to help sell it under the Angels' protection at New Hampshire's Loconia Motorcycle Week -- which just happened last month.

Arizona Corporation Commission documents list only Zizzo and an accountant on filing documents for the company, Consortium Distribution LLC.

The investigation then shifted to Phoenix, where the DEA agents -- still going along with the Hells Angels plot -- were introduced to Zizzo and Lowenstein.

According to the feds, Lowenstein agreed to ship 20 kilograms to New Hampshire for the biker rally.

Again, the DEA agent's affidavit says Lowenstein believed they were "utilizing chemicals or substances that weren't scheduled or analogues." In other words, he believed what he was doing was legal.

The affidavit also says Lowenstein was describing the effects of the chemicals on the human mind, so the DEA makes it sound like that throws the "not for human consumption" argument out the window.

When the agents met up with Zizzo, he said essentially the same things.

"[E]veryone who works for me, every day they show up to work they put themselves on the line, cause any day the government, the DEA, could come in, they could arrest every single one of us, they can drag us out, put us in a cell, and hold us there," the feds quote Zizzo as saying. "God knows we aren't doing a damn thing illegal."

The agents posing as Hells Angels continued to follow Zizzo and Lowenstein around, meeting with them, trying to make deals with them, and watching what they do.

On July 12, they allegedly completed the deal.

The agents negotiated to buy chemicals totaling 133.2 kilograms of chemicals, and sold the recipe for "Eight Ballz Ultra-Premium Glass Cleaner -- for which the "Hells Angels" would have to pay royalties to Zizzo and Lowenstein for their sales.

In another Phoenix-area case, Andrew Freeman had already been busted by NBC's Chris Hansen -- and not on the pedophile-busting show.



Yep, the TV gotcha-guy already got Freeman during an NBC show on bath salts.

The DEA affidavit claims agents saw Freeman and Michael Lane -- who owns a Tempe company called Dynamic Distribution -- drive large boxes from their warehouse and drive it to drop them off at a FedEx location.

The DEA got a search warrant for those boxes, and they were filled with bath salts of a very similar mixture (same active ingredient) to Zizzo and Lowenstein's.

Clinton Strunk, the other man arrested, is accused of being somewhat of a middle-man between manufactures and retailers of bath salts.

While the DEA's "confidential sources" were carrying audio recorders with them during some of Strunk's deals, he pretty much explained how he operates his business and makes money, as described in the federal court documents.

Strunk was allegedly a buyer of Dynamic Distribution's products.

In the DEA agent's affidavit, he notes yet again that the "DEA has opined" the main chemical in all the bath salts in these arrests, alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, is an analog of a controlled substance.

The five men, if convicted, face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both.



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30 comments
thepub199
thepub199

Souunds like the Feds have an Identity crisis going on. There needs to be a law....that makes it illegal to attempt to pretend to be a HA...when they are trying to arrest them ...makes no sence

bob_lablaw96
bob_lablaw96

I hope that they didn't get Dooley! He is a special Hell's Angel, trained by the Sons of Anarchy, and was just telling us all last week how the law abiding group were often mistaken for drug dealers.  He told us where to get a bail bondsman, too...over on Mohave Street, near the jail, I think.

 

Be safe, Dooley

outcast
outcast

These DEA guys are smart.  They knew that if they pretended to be Mongols or Vagos they would not be believable as drug dealers.  By posing as Arizona Camel Toe members, they were in.

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

ALL COPS ,PIGS AND POLICE ARE HELLS ANGELS WANNABEES ANYWAY. THIS EXPLAINS WHY THE PIGS POSED AS HELLS ANGELS MEMBERS.  BEING A COP IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOW DAYS BUT BEING A HELLS ANGELS IS.

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

Did you notice that no real Hells Angels were busted in this story?

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

All Hells Angels mc members world wide have an HA patch, belt buckles , t shirts, hats and either a harley davidson or victory motorcycle etc and a HA membership card with a picture of the members face on it and they all have HA tattoos on their body. this is how you tell a real HA from an imposter. if a person who claims to be HA does not have all these things he is a fake

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

The local Hells Angels are in spearfish south dakota for their yearly Hells Angels USA run. smart criminals would know little things like this. so they would not be helping make bath salts with a bunch of losers in sunny slope. always check in with the real HAs next time you want to break the law. the HAs are not hard to find in phoenix arizona. most of them have been busy for the last 2 months making a movie here anyway.

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

Be sure to check out thew new biker movie filmed here in the valley of the sun using real members of the local Hells Angels mc Arizona click here to read more. www.deadin5heartbeats.com it will be in theaters in the fall of 2012. this is what real Hells Angels do. they are movie stars and they make good biker movies. next time the local drug cookers should check in with the real Hells Angels to stop imposters or pigs from posing as real Hells Angels. in the real world Hells Angels dont work for anybody people work for them. this is a hint to tip you drug cookers off as you are dealing with imposters. hopefully the HA can now sue the DEA for using their trademarked patented name with out their permission.

outcast
outcast

It was really nice of the Hells Angels to loan the DEA their Village People outfits and bikes for a few days in order to bust these guys.

timdlittle
timdlittle

I agree bath salts suck, right along with Oxycontin and other forms of manufactured drugs. But charging them on what might  be illegal chemicals..that worries me a bit. What will they use this law for next? 

toughgies
toughgies

This is too funny - the FEDS wait til the Angels are out of town to pull this crap! Bunch a pussies!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Did they get anyone from Wicked X ?

omas2cents
omas2cents

"According to federal court documents, the five men were not dealing in chemicals that are explicitly illegal, but the feds are going after them with the Federal Analog Act, since the chemicals are "substantially similar" to drugs that are actually illegal."

 

While I agree that this vile stuff needs to go, I find this charging-because-it-is-similar-to-an-illegal tactic more than a bit scary.  This does not bode well for the civil rights of the individual person.  

charvin23
charvin23

I'm glad they got this crap off the streets- it's not a "drug", it's a chemical poison that simply has some side effects that emulate other drugs that are much safer.I am sorry that they felt the need to shit all over the Constitution and act like douchebags in the process of getting it off the street.

roast123
roast123

Pretending to be members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in other words they are dead men. You cant do that no matter who you are.

SeedyWard
SeedyWard

So, if narcs will go to these lengths to lie and deceive over something that might or might not be illegal, why wouldn't they lie to anyone? Judge, jury, defense team, spouse, the press, why not lie to just anyone?

outcast
outcast

I will demand to see all of these things the next time I see a Hells Angel to verify that he is one.

NothingBetterToDo
NothingBetterToDo

 @outcast L.O.L.  What is next Irish Spring soap? 

 

Or perhaps Luandry Detergent?

 

To me it would appear "We the People" are paying Hundreds of Billions to fight a War that must be over?

 

How Low can we go.

 

Better Build more Prisons!

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

 @toughgies and they used the Hells Angels trademarked patented name with out their permission. the DEA will now get sued by the 81 for stupidity. the angels are alot smarter than the cops are. the angels will profit $ off of this in court.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @omas2cents 

 

The Analogous Substance Act has been around for decades, and it ain't no joke.

 

Google -- Operation Web Trip ... those fools are STILL in prison.

 

HipTip: You mess with the Bull, you get the Horns!

 

hth.

outcast
outcast

I understand that the Hells Angels cooperated with this investigation by loaning the DEA their costumes and bikes to help with the bust....they seem to be trying to be good citizens now and turn over a new leaf so they won't be hated by everyone....good for them, it's never too late to change and do something good.

Marcy
Marcy

 @roast123 Get real, the Hell's Angels motorscooter riders only beat up women, kick dogs and sometimes stab some other motorscooter rider in the back.  

 

 

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

 @SeedyWard they already do as does your government is washington dc. wise up america before its to late!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @SeedyWard 

 

 

There's no question that it IS illegal, under the Analogous Substance Act.

 

There is no question that the manufacturers and distributors KNEW that it was being used for Human Consumption.

 

 

Marcy
Marcy

 @SeedyWard They are permitted by law to lie, but not in court.  However, it is true that most cops tend to lie pretty much all the time.

tcon45
tcon45

 @SeedyWard Ever seen what this stuff does to people? I have, and wouldn't hesitate a second to do some "deception" to get it off the streets.

 

It ain't weed, man ...

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

 @outcast Atleast an HA will tell you the truth. a cop will lie to you so your chances are better with a Hells Angels member when it comes to the truth. the cops in this story lied about who they were so this proves my point.

DOOLEY
DOOLEY

 @Marcy they also run a boxing gym in north phx az that you never had the guts to stop into marcy after you were invited over to by chico mora. your all talk and no action marcy.

Eleanor
Eleanor

 @Marcy  @SeedyWard

 They are permitted to lie as long as they don't do it during an investigation. It's called Garrity.

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