Johnson Co. deputy sheriff brings down synthetic drug ring

KANSAS CITY, Kansas – A Johnson County deputy sheriff was the key to bringing down a drug trafficking ring in Olathe that sold more than $16 million worth of designer drugs in just 14 months, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Deputy Christopher Farkes led a three-year investigation that resulted in federal indictments against 13 individuals, including the owners of an Olathe-based business, Tracy Picanso and Roy Ehrett.

In December, Picanso and Ehrett each pleaded guilty to producing and selling misbranded and counterfeit drugs and conspiring to launder the proceeds. They admitted producing and selling dangerous controlled substances and controlled substance analogues of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and cocaine-like stimulants.

The products sold under exotic names such as Head Trip, Black Arts, Pump It, Grave Digger and Voodoo Doll. The operation stretched from Kansas to Missouri, California, Texas, Georgia and Colorado, involving more than 15 companies with more than 40 financial accounts at more than 10 financial institutions.