Feds intend to seize historic Ridglea Theater as part of drug ring bust

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 6 at 12:01 AM

FORT WORTH -- After nearly closing a few years ago, it now appears Fort Worth's iconic Ridglea Theater may be facing more problems.

According to a federal forfeiture document filed this week, the theater and an attached Gas Pipe smoke shop are part of an investigation that centers around a multi-million dollar synthetic marijuana (also known as K2 or spice) drug ring in North Texas.

Specifically, the documents state that money used to purchase the theatre and for a high-profile renovation are “directly traceable to the proceeds derived from mail/wire fraud, manufacturing of schedule I controlled substance [...] and money laundering.”

The theater's owner, Jerry Shults, and his daughter, Amy Lynn Herrig, weren't available for comment on Thursday.

Staff at the theatre refused to comment. A man who said he was the manager at the Gas Pipe would only say, "I know what's going on, but can't talk about it."

Shults nor his daughter have been charged with a crime. But the documents clearly indicate some of the family's assets, including the Fort Worth smoke shop and iconic movie palace, are part of the bigger investigation.

"I was really surprised," said Dale Bench, who has lived in the area for nearly 30 years. "I thought it was wonderful this man bought it. It was possibly facing demolition."

News 8 was allowed into the 1950s-era theater during Shult's remodel efforts in 2012. Originally, it was estimated at least $750,000 would be put up for the renovation.

Local attorneys not connected to the case told News 8 it was likely the DEA is still building a case, and that more arrests could be coming.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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