DEA investigates ‘herbal incense’ packets found near scene of WPB business fire, explosion

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — – The fire and explosion that shook a West Palm Beach neighborhood Monday is now catching the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Federal agents stepped in on Tuesday after investigators found suspicious materials.

What is in question are the hundreds of packets of “herbal incense” found scattered near the scene of the fire. DEA agents said depending what was suppose to go inside the packets, investigators said there could be ingredients for what agents would define as an illegal drug.

“It was an operation, it looks like K2 spice or bath salts. It looks like they were about to mix it,” said Agent John McKenna, DEA.

Agent McKenna said the “herbal incense” business might actually be a synthetic marijuana operation.  The packets are sold in stores but when injected, Agent McKenna said the “herbal incense” acts as a hallucinogenic depending on the ingredients.

“This is a very dangerous product. These kids are using this stuff out there. I’ve seen instances where kidney failure has happened from it,” said Agent McKenna.

The owner of the “herbal incense” business has not made an appearance at the store since the fire. It has left many questions unanswered.

“This is all new to me. I’ve never seen any of this before. They’re quiet, they do their thing, they don’t open their door. I don’t see anything, they pay their rent, that’s all I need,” said Jack Lowem, the building owner.

In addition to the one store being investigated, the surrounding business will be shut down indefinitely.

Investigators estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

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