Suspected 'bath salts' manufacturer faces a judge - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Suspected 'bath salts' manufacturer faces a judge

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HURON COUNTY (WJRT) -

(10/01/12) - A man believed to be one of Huron County's biggest suppliers of the synthetic drug 'bath salts', is out of business.

47-year-old Robert Alent was arrested Friday night. Monday, he faced a judge for the first time.

Alent is accused of making and selling bath salts.

When he faced a judge Monday, his bond remained at $100,000, keeping him behind bars.

This isn't the first time Alent has made headlines in connection to the drug that was made illegal in Michigan, back in July.

"It's not my moral right to put my judgment on other people and tell them what to do," said Alent, during an ABC12 interview in April.

Alent owns Maple Lane Discount Store in Huron County's Verona Township.

In April, it was still legal to sell bath salts and other synthetic drugs. But police and health officials were putting pressure on Alent to stop selling them following months of health concerns and arrests linked to bath salts.

Since Christmas of 2011, Alent's store was broken into four times before he installed bars on the doors to keep people out. Police say the break-ins were committed by people after their next fix.

Monday morning Alent was no longer making or selling the drug. Instead, he woke up in jail. "He was doing what he thought he needed to do, and we did what we thought we needed to do," said Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson.

It took months of investigation, before Alent was arrested on Friday. His home and business were also searched.

In both places, police turned up what's believed to be bath salt making materials. "Butane, computers, acetone, some packaging material," Hanson said.

The bulk of the items were found at Alent's home on Beech Street in Bad Axe, where Hanson says officers had some problems. "Those who had been in there over 10 minutes started to cough."

Worried about the potentially dangerous ingredients, the sheriff called in the Drug Enforcement Agency. "The DEA had told me that this was one of the bigger lab set ups that he's seen since 2009," explained Hanson, who spoke to a DEA agent on the hazardous response team.

Hanson says if his tipsters are correct, Alent was a major bath salts supplier in the county.

Already, the arrest might be making it harder for people to get the illegal drug. Monday, one of Hanson's deputies was called to a hospital where a man said he was dealing with withdrawal. "And if he can't get it, to the point that he's went into withdrawals, maybe we did make an accomplishment here," Hanson said.

At this point, police suspect the items they found to be bath salts, but they have to wait on lab tests to confirm that suspicion.

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