Salt Lake City Man Sentenced for Distribution of Alpha-PHP Across Wasatch Front

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SALT LAKE CITY – Brent Orton, 63, of Salt Lake City, has been sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for possessing the Schedule 1 narcotic Alpha Pyrrolidinohexanophenone, commonly known as “Alpha PHP,” with the intent to distribute the narcotic. 

In June of 2021, Orton plead guilty to a one-count criminal information filed by federal prosecutors charging him with possession with intent to distribute Alpha PHP.  In the plea agreement, Orton admitted to receiving a package of Alpha PHP with the intent to distribute the illegal narcotic.

In a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors, it was alleged that Orton had imported and distributed large amounts of Alpha-PHP for two years, and that Orton had distributed between 575,000 to 4,600,000 doses of the drug in Utah, which sold for between $300 and $500 dollars a gram. It was further alleged that Orton used his daughter’s friends as customers, as well as using them to make inroads into the drug trafficking business.

Alpha-PHP is a Schedule 1 controlled substance and is a compound of the substituted cathinone and substituted pyrrolidine chemical classes. It is a synthetic variant of a drug more commonly referred to as “bath salts.” In general, the intensity of the effects of this substance is comparable to strong stimulants such as methamphetamine, MDPV and alpha-PVP. Alpha-PHP is reported to mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine. The adverse effects associated with alpha-PHP abuse included vomiting, agitation, paranoia, hypertension, unconsciousness, tachycardia, seizures, cardiac arrest, rhabdomyolysis, or death.


“Synthetic drugs like Alpha-PHP are deadly compounds that endanger our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea Martinez. “The United States Attorney’s Office is focused on pursuing criminals who import and distribute these illegal narcotics into our community.”

“Dangerous, synthetic drugs like bath salts have no place in our community and HSI will investigate those who import and distribute these deadly substances,” said Steven Cagen, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Denver Field Division. “We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners for their investigative help and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting the case. Distributors like Orton who profit off this poison have no place in our community.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah United States Attorney’s Office and a Special Assistant United States Attorney from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are prosecting the case. Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and Officers from Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation.

 

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