First reported "bath salts" arrest happens in Bay County

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City-- Less than two weeks ago, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an emergency order making it illegal to sell or possess substances containing MDVP, the main ingredient in "bath salts". That, after Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen approached her with concern.

It took less than 2 weeks for Bay County sheriff's investigators to make their first arrest in connection to Florida’s new bath salts ban. The bust happened in Panama City Beach early Monday morning.

"To our knowledge, this is the first reported arrest and I thank Sheriff McKeithen and his staff for first bringing this to our attention," said Florida Deputy Attorney General, Emory Gainey.

Paramedics responded to the Herb Shop on Joan Avenue around 3:00 Monday morning. The victim was a 21-year-old who reportedly ingested bath salts.

"Apparently he had mixed some with some Gatorade and had drank it. He began feeling very unusual. Thought he was going into some type of seizure mode," said Bay County Sheriff, Frank McKeithen.

With the ambulance, came sheriff's deputies.

The Herb Shop owner, 46-year-old Edwin Moman, lives in a room on the premises. He gave deputies permission to search the shop.

"There were several packets that appeared to have been used just recently on top of garbage that had been there for several days and in law enforcement, that's a clue," said Sheriff McKeithen.

Moman was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. McKeithen says he's had his eye on Moman's shop, anticipating an issue.

"This is one of the ones that I’d gone out and talked to the guy and he certainly promised 'oh, we're not going to do this again’ and then within 2 or 3 hours from the time I left, our narcotics officer stopped someone who was leaving there and found they had just purchased bath salts," said Sheriff McKeithen.

After hand delivering several notices to Moman in recent weeks, McKeithen says he's not taking this as a slap in the face.

"It's a slap on the wrist with handcuffs is pretty much what it is," said Sheriff McKeithen.

The 21-year-old, who ingested the bath salts, was treated at a local hospital. He'll also face charges, once he's recovered.

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