Matthew Comer and Jeremy King
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Three men convicted of selling bath salts from Pamela's Secrets in Harrisonburg will spend several years in jail. Augustus Julias, Matthew Comer and Jeremy King learned their sentences on Tuesday.
Judge Michael Urbanski sentenced Julias to nine years with five years supervised release. Julias' sentencing took more than two hours, with both sides walking the court through the history of Pamela's Secrets and the resulting investigation.
The judge sentenced Comer to six years. He recommended the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program, which Comer requested before the sentencing hearing.
For Julias' sentencing, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Tooley took the stand to walk the court through his investigation of Pamela's Secrets. Based on Tooley's investigation, King and Julias placed direct orders to a California company that manufactured bath salts. The prosecution said that Julias' assistance was critical in prosecuting Jeremy King.
Julias' attorney says that it started out as a business "opportunity" that was "dynamite" and "legal." Judge Urbanski argued that it destroyed people's lives. After the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office shut down Pamela's Secrets, Julias and King kept selling the drug.
Judge Urbanski also wanted to send a clear message that bath salts pose a "real societal danger."
Julias apologized in court for his actions, saying he's a "drug addict and made a poor decision."
"I had a legit business for 15 years, sold something for two months that ruined my life and I apologize to everyone I hurt," said Julias.
No family members were present for Julias' sentencing. According to U.S. attorneys, Comer was the least responsible. Comer worked part time at Pamela's Secrets for a short time. U.S. attorneys say Comer approached them first to help build the case.
Comer also helped Agent Tooley sort through financial statements from Pamela's Secrets and also testified against Jeremy King during his jury trial.
Comer's attorney, William Eldridge, said that Comer knows it's time to change. When Comer addressed the court, he said that he burned bridges with family and wants a shot at a rehab program sooner, rather than later. Comer's father and a friend were present for the sentencing.
Judge Urbanksi imposed a greater sentence than the 54 months that the government requested, partly because of Comer's history of drug abuse.
Jeremy King will spend seven years behind bars. Out of the three convicted of selling bath salts, King is the only one who was sentenced below recommended sentencing guidelines.
For King's sentencing, multiple family members took the stand to attest to his character. Two men who met King in jail also took the stand. One of the inmates, Charles Marks Jr., claimed that King talked about his trial and a U.S. attorney. Marks claimed King said he would blow a U.S. attorney's car up. King denied these claims.
Throughout the sentencing hearings, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 5:45 p.m., Judge Urbanski said that what made this bath salts ring different from other drug rings is that the drug users and sellers continued to run the business and put lives at risk after police seized drugs and money.
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