Synthetic drug sentence connects the dots in nearly a decade of Fox Files reports

ST. LOUIS – You may have heard the drug term “bath salts.” Fox 2 News was the first to expose the trick by drug dealers to hide dangerous substances in colorful packaging. Our first report was in 2010. Then federal investigators got involved.

Now eight years later, Chuck Wolfe learned he’ll spend 15 and a half years in prison for distributing millions of dollars in synthetic drugs across the United States.

One of his biggest customers was the store where our Fox Files investigations began in October 2010.

A store clerk yelled at us to get off the property of Nights of Rave Smoke Sensations when we confronted him with our lab results.

"Get outta here with that f*&%ing camera," he said.

Fox 2 tested a product called “Ivory Wave” after a warning from a former cocaine addict.

“That stuff right there is 10 times stronger than cocaine and lasts 10 times longer,” he said.

Lawmakers began making the substances illegal. Then the makers of synthetic coke and synthetic pot kept changing chemical compounds to evade prosecution.

Meanwhile, strange encounters continued as we kept on the pressure. One man tried to keep us away from covering an armed robbery at Nights of Rave in 2012. The police response to the robbery that day led to the discovery the store was making millions of dollars selling synthetics.

Owner Pam Tabatt went to prison in 2016 for her drug sales at the St. Louis County store as well as her St. Charles County shop South 94 Bait and Tackle. That store was also listed in the court record as a seller of Wolfe’s products. Tabatt will be in prison until 2027.

The feds said Wolfe was also connected to those drug dealers the Fox Files found driving ice cream trucks in 2014. Like John Galvin, who we saw selling ice cream to kids while facing drug dealing charges. He pleaded guilty and is now on probation.

Galvin’s brother, Roger, got 14 months. He’s set to get out of prison in January.

On Thursday, the judge pointed out Wolfe continued distributing narcotics even after federal raids and arrests.

Wolfe was unapologetic in court and the judge sentenced him to 15 and a half years.