PORTLAND, Ore. – More than 80 people around the country were arrested as part of an operation that netted millions of packets of synthetic illegal drugs.
Several of those raids and one arrest happened in the Portland area.
Dubbed Operation Log Jam, the raids targeted people who make synthetic marijuana known as “spice”, incense or “K2”, as well as so-called “bath salts.”
Tigard resident Joshua Becker was arrested at his home during the operation on Wednesday. He will be sent to Idaho where he is accused of distributing synthetic drugs.
Federal agents also seized boxes of evidence from his warehouse in Vancouver.
Across the country, agents seized 4.8 million packets of synthetic marijuana and the products they said could be used to make 13.6 million more. They also seized 167,000 packets of bath salts and the product to make 392,000 more.
“This enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” said Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative, and investigative tool at our disposal.”
The DEA says there has been a growing market for these synthetic drugs. That includes a large market among teens and young adults who think these synthetic drugs won’t be caught in drug tests.
Although some of the drugs that were seized are not specifically illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, a separate law allows police to treat them like illegal drugs if they are proved to be similar to their illegal counterparts.
Federal prosecutors plan to use that argument when pursuing the cases from Operation Log Jam, DEA officials said.