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What effect does guilty plea of Tebbs owner have on the bath salts market?
How will the arrest and now guilty plea, of a local synthetic drug dealer affect the growing market for the destructive drugs?
Crime did pay for a while for John Tebbetts III, the man authorities say was the Kingpin Bath Salts throughout Central New York. Tebbetts pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to selling the substances in his Tebbs Head Shop chain. As part of his plea, he's forfeited a Cadillac, two GMC trucks, a snowmobile, mobile home and more than $300,000 cash.
The synthetic drug kinpin will have far less of the trappings of that ill gained wealth once he begins what could be a lengthy federal prison term in the spring.
Basking in the glow of Tebbetts' guilty plea is local law enforcement, who have dealt with naked, violent, destructive synthetic drug users more and more over the past two years, with the problem peaking this past summer.
However, some local police chiefs say that this one man's arrest and subsequent plea appear to have changed that.
"We've noticed a tremendous difference," said Rome Police chief Kevin Beach. "Just since the take-down at Tebbs, we went from dealing with these people on a daily basis to, we probably had only a handful of cases since his arrest."
John Tebbetts will be sentenced in April to up to 20 years in federal prison and up to $5.25 million in fines.
He admitted owning several head shops throughout Central New York from Syracuse to Herkimer and in Maine as well.