A Cranberry Township man sentenced to county jail for facilitating a million-dollar drug enterprise by distributing synthetic marijuana will finish his jail sentence on house arrest after he was released following a hearing Monday.
Richard D. Sallade, 73, who was sentenced to nine to 18 months in Butler County Prison on Aug. 24, and began serving that sentence on Sept. 6, was released Monday by Judge William Shaffer.
He will serve the remainder of his sentence, the minium of which runs until June 6, on house arrest.
Shaffer granted the request after a motion detailing Sallade’s medical conditions, which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive hearth failure, a pacemaker as a result of open heart surgery, and diverticulitis, which resulted in removal of a portion of his gastrointestinal tract, according to the motion filed by his attorney, J. Lansing Hills. Sallade had paid all his court-ordered restitution in full as of Dec. 8.
Hills said Sallade is currently at Butler Memorial Hospital suffering from those medical conditions.
“We titled this motion as a ‘change in confinement’ because we believe house arrest is an environment more conducive to his health and well being,” Hills said.
The motion states that “the prison environment only exacerbates said condition, and thereby creates undue hardship and medical risk.”
Also detailed in the motion is that because of his incarceration Sallade has missed one doctor’s appointment entirely, and was “refused care from his own doctor in favor of prison medical personnel in another instance, regarding an asserted need for replacement of a battery for his aforementioned pacemaker,” and has missed prescribed medications on a few occasions and is “forced to take a generic equivalent based upon prison availability.”
The motion also states as the owner and CEO of a business which employs nearly 30 people, Sallade’s “absence may have extremely deleterious effect” on the business, as the jail has denied work release.
Sallade pleaded guilty on June 7 to felony corrupt organizations, dealing in proceeds of illegal activity and two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
He was originally charged with eight felonies by the state Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, of which the other charges were dismissed due to the plea, after incidents between May 1, 2012, and Nov. 20, 2014.
He was charged alongside Patricia A. Quinn, 69, also of Cranberry, who pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 60 months probation with four months on house arrest with electronic monitoring in August; Bruce A. Johnson, 69, of Monaca, Beaver County, who pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and awaits sentencing; and Craig W. Pfister, 52, of Prospect, who pleaded no contest to the same charge and was sentenced to 36 months probation.
They are accused of receiving large shipments of synthetic marijuana from out of state and arranging for it to be distributed to customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio between late 2012 and November 2014. The compounds became controlled substances in 2012.
The distribution allegedly occurred in an empty storefront in Piazza Plaza on Route 19, Cranberry Township. Sallade owned and operated the Glass Gone Wow, formerly called Glass Gone Wild and Tobacco For Less, in the same shopping center.
Fourteen undercover purchases were made from Craig W. Pfister of Prospect, between September 2013 and November 2014, eventually leading to Bruce A. Johnson of Monaca, Beaver County, who allegedly was storing synthetic marijuana in two storage lockers in Vanport, Beaver County.
Both Pfister and Johnson began cooperating with police, leading authorities to Sallade and Quinn.
Johnson testified during the preliminary hearing that he would regularly pick up synthetic marijuana from Sallade at an empty storefront in the same shopping center as Glass Gone Wow and deliver it to two “accounts” in Ohio, and after shipments from Florida were intercepted at the UPS center, he started driving to Boston, New York City, Newark, N.J., and Harrisburg to pick up synthetic marijuana from contacts.
Sallade would arrange the distribution and keep inventory, but did not have contact with the drugs, he said.
Following search warrants, a total of more than 360 pounds of synthetic marijuana, carrying an estimated street value of $1.6 million, was seized from a storage unit and from several packages intercepted at a UPS facility in Jackson Township, according to previous reports.
Police determined that eight packages were sent from Tampa, Fla., to both the Tobacco for Less store and the UPS facility.
Also in 2014, police searched Sallade’s and Quinn’s apartment and found about $190,000 in cash. Another $228,000 was seized from a bank account.