A 23-year-old Simi Valley man and his 22-year-old girlfriend were arrested on suspicion of running a drug operation that made and sold the drug methylone in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Methylone worth more than $400,000 was found at homes belonging to Aaron Lieberman, who was accused of being the source of most of the drug in eastern Ventura and western L.A. counties.
An “ecstasy-type drug” that is used “for its stimulant and hallucinogenic affects,” methylone is popular in rave culture and is sold as both ecstasy and bath salts, according to a news release from sheriff’s Sgt. Victor Fazio.
“It is known locally as ‘moon rocks’ and ‘sassafras,’” Fazio wrote.
Authorities began their investigation after receiving a tip that large quantities of the illegal drug were being sold in the region, Fazio stated. Lieberman became the main suspect.
He was arrested Dec. 26 after he was seen selling a pound and a half of the drug in Simi Valley, according to the release.
Authorities then searched Lieberman’s two residences — one in Simi Valley and one in Thousand Oaks — and arrested his girlfriend, Samantha Brand, for the sale and use of methylone, Fazio wrote in the release.
At Lieberman’s homes, authorities seized several kilograms of methylone with a street value in excess of $400,000, more than $40,000 in cash, and a large amount of cutting agents, steroids, and suspected LSD, according to Fazio.
The pair allegedly imported chemicals and “finished product” from China to manufacture and sell the drugs, Fazio wrote. No other domestic supply for Lieberman was found.
The investigation, which lasted several months, was conducted by the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crime Unit, which includes the Sheriff’s Office, the Simi Valley Police Department and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.
Lieberman was booked for multiple narcotics violations and was being held on $350,000 bail. Brand had bailed out, according to Fazio.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer and Tracy Bloom contributed to this report.