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"Bath Salts" Linked In Strangulation, Domestic Battery

Last updated on Friday, September 16, 2011

(GREENE COUNTY) - 28-year-old Joshua A. Sargent, told police he was taking “bath salts” when he allegedly became violent and attempted to strangle and beat his fiancee.

Sargent will appear in Greene County Circuit Court this morning.

The DEA describes "bath salts", which have nothing in common with products long-used in bathing, as a sort of imitation cocaine or LSD. The drug produces paranoia, hallucinations, severe agitated behavior and rapid increase in heart rate and suicidal thoughts. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected causing a "high".

It is commonly known as: Cloud Nine, Scarface, Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, and Bliss, White Dove, Charge +, White Lightning, Ivory Wave, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, Ocean.

Prior to a law change July 1, the compound was legally sold at some convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and plant foods.

According to local police the drug has become more prevalent in recent months.
Sargent, who lives in Sandborn, was arrested Sept. 9 after a domestic dispute with his fiancee Shylah Clark.

Sargent is charged with strangulation, a class D felony and domestic battery, a class A misdemeanor. He posted a $4,000 bond on the same day he was arrested, according to jail officials.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Greene County Sheriff's Department Deputy James O'Malley Sargent was doing "bath salts" and became angry and violent.

On Sept. 8, Sargent allegedly repeatedly slapped his fiancee' in the face, head-butted her as they continued to fight through most of the night, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The next morning the argument continued and Sargent allegedly pushed Clark into a coffee table, pulled her hair, banged her head on the floor, and hit her with his fists.

The altercation moved into the bedroom, where Sargent allegedly began choking Clark.
Until she thought she was going to pass out. Clark told police Sargent punched her several times and struck her in the ribcage with his knees. Sargent also bit her on the back of the head and on the neck. Sargent told Clark he was going to kill her and then himself, police said.

Sargent finally fell asleep around 5 p.m. and she took the couple's two-week old baby and fled to Sargent's parent's home, that was just down the road.

Sargent told police he remembered arguing with Clark but nothing else.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said last week it will use its emergency authority to ban chemicals used in the synthetic drugs known as "bath salts", calling the chemicals an "imminent hazard" to the public.

"This imminent action by the DEA demonstrates that there is no tolerance for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell these drugs anywhere in the country, and that those who do will be shut down, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement on the DEA website. "DEA has made it clear we will not hesitate to use our emergency scheduling authority to control these dangerous chemicals that pose a significant and growing threat to our nation."

Use of the drug has prompted more than 2,500 calls to poison control centers nationwide. Callers are reporting chest pain so severe they think they are having a heart attack. They have extreme paranoia and hallucinations- monsters, demons and aliens, official say.

The DEA emergency ban will take effect in 30 days and will make it illegal to possess or sell mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone -- all key ingredients for "bath salts" -- or any products which contain the chemicals for one year while the DEA works with the Department of Health and Human Services to "further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled."

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