FAIRFIELD — Police reportedly seized 165 packages of bath salts from a downtown business Tuesday morning and charged a Fairfield businessman with unlawful trafficking in the drug.

The illegal synthetic hallucinogenic was found inside a seat compartment of a scooter at Bargains ‘R’ Us, according to Police Chief John Emery.

“We tried not to leave any stone unturned,” said Emery.

Emery said John Linscott, 59, was charged with unlawful trafficking in bath salts after search warrants were simultaneously executed at 9:30 a.m. at Bargains ‘R’ Us, a 71 Main St. shop operated by Linscott and Sharon Butler, 63, as well as at Butler’s residence at 163 Ohio Hill Road.

Emery said about 10 officers from the Fairfield Police Department and Somerset County Sheriff’s Office took part in the four-hour searches, which came after a two-month joint department investigation. A detective with the Skowhegan Police Department also assisted.

In addition to the drugs, Emery said officers found a large quantity of cash, firearms, stolen electronics and jewelry that had been pawned or traded at the business. He estimated the drug’s street value as $12,000.

In 2004, Linscott was sentenced by a federal judge to two months in prison for selling baseball caps bearing counterfeit Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees logos, as well as knock-off sunglasses and watches.

In July, Dr. Scott Kemmerer, the medical director for MaineGeneral Medical Center emergency departments, said five or six people a week suffering the ill effects of bath salts were arriving at the hospital in Waterville and Augusta.

“The first time you use it could be the last thing you do,” he said, noting that in other parts of the country people high on bath salts have died because of accidental overdoses and suicide.

Bath salts contain the synthetic chemicals mephedrone or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, which can cause hallucinations, paranoia, a rapid heart rate and suicidal thoughts. People who snort, smoke, inject or swallow bath salts can suffer a spectrum of illnesses, said Kemmerer, from mild agitation to full-blown delirium with psychotic paranoid behavior.

The time it takes for a patient to detoxify, Kemmerer said, ranges from about 12 hours to several days.

Kemmerer said, to date, there are no tests that show whether a person has taken bath salts. He also said there is no antidote.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

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