Two facing charges after police find them in possession of "Bath Salts"

By WKTV News

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two Herkimer County residents have been committed to the Oneida County Jail after police say they were found in New Hartford in possession the controlled substance commonly known as "Bath Salts" - a synthetic drug formulated by a blend of substances.

Around 3 a.m. on Monday, a New Hartford Police Officer was on routine patrol in the New Hartford Shopping Center when he observed a car parked in front of several closed stores.

As the officer approached the car he observed the driver duck her head down as if she was trying to avoid being seen. When the officer investigated further, he discovered that the car was occupied by a female driver and a male passenger.

The officer said he could also see items in the car commonly used for drug use and sale. His investigation revealed that the occupants were in possession of "Bath Salts" and both of the occupants were taken into custody.

The occupants of the car - Katrina L. Pope, 24, of Little Falls and Ricky L. Coffin, 21, who told police he formerly lived in Little Falls but is now homeless and living in a car - were both charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (a felony) and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Police said the felony charge was filed after police found scales, cutting agents and packaging materials that would be used to package the drug for sale.

Both Pope and Coffin were arraigned in New Hartford Village Court and sent to the Oneida County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bail. Both are scheduled to reappear in court on March 15 for further court action.

Police said the chemical compound in "Bath Salts" that produces a high to the user is Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, which is referred to as MDPV.

MDPV became listed as a controlled substance this past summer as the result of legislation developed, in part, by Sen. Joe Griffo who police said was instrumental in moving the legislation through the Assembly and eventually to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed it into law.

Authorities warn that MDPV can produce a number of dangerous reactions when ingested, snorted or injected into the body. Those reactions include paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, agitation and suicidal thoughts. Hospitalization or death can result from it's use. "Bath Salts" are often used as a substitute for methamphetamine.

The law does not effect the sale or use of Epsom Salts commonly used by consumers as a treatment for minor injuries.

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