Synthetic drug sentence connects the dots in nearly a decade of Fox Files reports

FOX Files
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ST. LOUIS – You may have heard the drug term “bath salts.” Fox 2 News was the first to expose the trick by drug dealers to hide dangerous substances in colorful packaging. Our first report was in 2010. Then federal investigators got involved.

Now eight years later, Chuck Wolfe learned he’ll spend 15 and a half years in prison for distributing millions of dollars in synthetic drugs across the United States.

One of his biggest customers was the store where our Fox Files investigations began in October 2010.

A store clerk yelled at us to get off the property of Nights of Rave Smoke Sensations when we confronted him with our lab results.

“Get outta here with that f*&%ing camera,” he said.

Fox 2 tested a product called “Ivory Wave” after a warning from a former cocaine addict.

“That stuff right there is 10 times stronger than cocaine and lasts 10 times longer,” he said.

Lawmakers began making the substances illegal. Then the makers of synthetic coke and synthetic pot kept changing chemical compounds to evade prosecution.

Meanwhile, strange encounters continued as we kept on the pressure. One man tried to keep us away from covering an armed robbery at Nights of Rave in 2012. The police response to the robbery that day led to the discovery the store was making millions of dollars selling synthetics.

Owner Pam Tabatt went to prison in 2016 for her drug sales at the St. Louis County store as well as her St. Charles County shop South 94 Bait and Tackle. That store was also listed in the court record as a seller of Wolfe’s products. Tabatt will be in prison until 2027.

The feds said Wolfe was also connected to those drug dealers the Fox Files found driving ice cream trucks in 2014. Like John Galvin, who we saw selling ice cream to kids while facing drug dealing charges. He pleaded guilty and is now on probation.

Galvin’s brother, Roger, got 14 months. He’s set to get out of prison in January.

On Thursday, the judge pointed out Wolfe continued distributing narcotics even after federal raids and arrests.

Wolfe was unapologetic in court and the judge sentenced him to 15 and a half years.

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About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

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