National sweep targets producers of bath salts, synthetic marijuana


An earlier version of this report indicated that one of the raids took place on Staten Island. Our source for that information now reports that no Staten Island connection has been verified.

SYNTHETIC-POT.jpg

Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimoSynthetic marijuana, sold under the names Mr. Smiley and Spice, was purchased by the Advance in this Nov. 11, 2010 file photo. Today, officials will announce they raided a Staten Island producer of illegal bath salts and marijuana.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Drug Enforcement Administration, as part of a national crackdown on distributors and manufacturers of bath salts and synthetic marijuana, has raided more than 90 U.S. locations within the past 48 hours, including 19 in New York.

Law enforcement officials are expected to announce the results of the nationwide crackdown later today.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to psychotic episodes and deaths of users.

The drugs have become a popular alternative to traditional street drugs, but law enforcement and health professionals have warned that the chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana and hallucinogens bath salts have not been tested or approved for human consumption.

Synthetic marijuana is sold under such brand names as “K2” and “Spice.”

Federal legislation was passed earlier this month to ban bath salts, synthetic marijuana and synthetic hallucinogens.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who championed the bill, hailed news of the raid.

“If local retailers and manufacturers think they can still get away with business as usual, and continue to sell and produce these synthetic poisons, then (the) DEA’s raids should be a lesson to them,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.). “I urge the DEA to continue such raids until these horrible and debilitating drugs are not longer sold anywhere in America.”

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