Lincoln County man sentenced for trafficking synthetic drugs

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WINFIELD, MO (KPLR) – A 36-year old Winfield man was sentenced Thursday to more than 12 years in prison for his role in trafficking synthetic drugs, US Attorney Richard Callahan said.

According to federal prosecutors, Richard Gross and co-conspirator Paul Berra Jr. made and sold synthetic pot to stores in several states. Their biggest customer was actually Gross’ mother, 58-year old Pam Tabatt, who sold the drugs through two stores: South 94 Bait and Tackle in St. Charles County and Smoke Sensations, Nights of Rave in St. Louis County.

Gross pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances; conspiracy to fraudulently receive and distribute misbranded products in interstate commerce; conspiracy to import controlled substance analogues in the country; and conspiracy to receive, sell, and facilitate transportation of smuggled goods.

Meanwhile, Tabatt pleaded guilty to related charges in March and was sentenced July 20 to 150 months in prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. Berra pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to 34 months in prison in May.

This isn’t the first time the Smoke Sensations, Nights of Rave store has been in the news. A Fox Files investigation in March 2012 discovered the store was selling synthetic cocaine disguised as “massage powder.” Federal agents raided both stores in September 2013. As a result, the store owners posted a sign on their door saying, “No media or reporters (especially Chris Hayes).”