According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, two Florida brothers, Michael Loren Sheaffer, 35, of Pinellas Park, Florida and Matthew Shawn Sheaffer, 35, of Holiday, Florida were convicted of possessing and distributing a controlled substance known as “bath salts” and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Both brothers were sentenced on January 27, 2016, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge in Greeneville, Tennessee, to serve 84 months each in federal prison.
Three other individuals were convicted in connection with the “bath salt” scheme and have been sentenced to a range from 54 to 87 months. These others include Mitchel Lee Chambers, Niki Lyn Maxwell, and Gretchen Elizabeth Sheaffer
“Bath salts” are a type of synthetic drug that releases chemicals in the brain and are usually taken for their amphetamine-like effects. However, they have also been linked to highly negative side effects such as nausea, heart palpitations, heart attacks, organ failure, paranoia, hallucinations, cold fingers, and mental symptoms. In recent years, bath salts have received more attention due to violent suicides and attacks.
Back in the summer of 2010, the Sheaffer brothers began their plan to distribute bath salts to the Southeastern United States and elsewhere including shops and businesses within the Eastern District of Tennessee. The Knoxville Police department, Kingsport Police Department, Sullivan Count Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division worked together to bring this case to an end and to prove how serious the distribution of illegal substances and money laundering is.