ST. LOUIS RESIDENT CHARGED IN 2002 DEATH
(ST. LOUIS) – Preston Grubbs, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s St. Louis Division and United States Attorney Catherine L. Hanaway announced today the indictment of John Berger, 36, of St. Louis, on multiple charges of distribution of the predatory sexual assault drug, 1,4-butanediol (BD). Two of the charges allege that Berger, who turned himself into authorities, was responsible for the death of Tressa Gross, 22, of St. Louis County, in 2002.
“GHB can be colorless, odorless, has a salty taste, and is often used to intoxicate or sedate others for the purpose of committing sexual assault. Mr. Berger is accused of distributing a GHB analog to Tressa Gross which resulted in her death,” said Hanaway.
1,4-butanediol (BD) is an analogue of GHB, and converts into GHB after ingestion. GHB, also known as the “predatory rape drug” is a central nervous system depressant abused because it produces a euphoric effect. It can cause drowsiness, nausea, loss of inhibition, memory loss, and visual disturbances. In higher dosages, it can cause unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory depression, coma and death.
Berger, 36, of the 400 block of Washington Avenue in St. Louis was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of possession with intent to distribute 1,4 butanediol for human consumption; one felony count of distribution of cocaine; one felony count of distribution of 1,4 butanediol with death resulting; and one felony count of possession with intent to distribute 1,4 butanediol for human consumption, with death resulting. If convicted, these charges carry a penalty range of twenty years to life in prison and/or fines up to $4 million.
Hanaway commended the long-term investigation led by the DEA, and the quick reaction by the St. Louis Police Department. The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.