Troopers visit 3,500 stores in K2 drug checks


The Michigan State Police announced Thursday that troopers have visited more than 3,500 retail stores statewide since late June in an effort to raise awareness that it is illegal to buy, sell or possess K2 or other synthetic drugs.

Although most retailers were in compliance with the law, approximately 140 cases across the state are pending further investigation, according to a news release.

In one case, a detective received a tip about synthetic drugs being sold at a retail store in Menominee County, the release said. Four employees were arrested, and nearly 600 packets of synthetic drugs were confiscated.

In another instance, an employee of a retail store in Crawford County proactively called a state police narcotics team to turn over a quantity of synthetic drugs being sold after the law had taken effect.

Despite state and federal bans that took effect this month, the drugs — often marketed as herbal incense or bath salts that mimic highs from cocaine, marijuana and LSD — remain available in some convenience stores, smoke shops and online, according to authorities.

On Wednesday, police and federal agents raided dozens of businesses suspected of selling synthetic drugs in nearly 100 cities during the first nationwide crackdown. The Detroit DEA was not part of that, officials said.

“There is nothing OK, legal or safe about synthetic drugs like K2, and the Michigan State Police is taking a zero tolerance approach to enforcement,” Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, said in a release. “While those who choose to break the law can expect enforcement action, we are pleased to report that the majority of businesses are true partners in this effort and chose to comply voluntarily.”

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Map of Operation Log Jam includes operations in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel.Credit Courtesy of Drug Enforcement Agency

Photos

UPDATE: 11:42 a.m. Patch has learned that a dramatic search warrant served in San Juan Capistrano Wednesday is tied to a nationwide “synthetic drug takedown,” as the Drug Enforcement Administration is calling it.

A DEA map showing areas of operation for the synthetic drug dealers includes Laguna Niguel and Escondido in San Diego County.

More than 90 individuals were arrested and more than five million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs were seized in the first-ever nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often marketed as bath salts, Spice, incense, or plant food, according to a DEA press release.

More than $36 million in cash was also seized, according to the DEA.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that Wednesday’s search warrant – in which an armored vehicle and federal agents seen with rifles in the Rancho Madrina tract – was indeed part of “Operation Log Jam,” as the DEA has dubbed it.

The effort was a joint effort of the DEA and ICE with assists from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the FBI, among other federal agencies, according to the DEA press release.

More than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (ex. bath salts), and the products to produce an additional 392,000 were seized, according to the DEA.

“Although tremendous progress has been made in legislating and scheduling these dangerous substances, this enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in the press release.

“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,” he said.

Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations James Chaparro said: “Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry. The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits. ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

Here is San Juan Capistrano Patch’s story from 10:48 a.m.

Federal agents served a search warrant in an upscale San Juan Capistrano neighborhood Wednesday, sending an armored vehicle and armed officers onto a quiet, suburban street.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she could offer few details.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Lori Haley. “We don’t want to compromise an investigation.”

Neighbors told Patch that officers used a loud speaker to tell the homeowner in the 31000 block of Carril de Maderas in the Rancho Madrina tract that they had a search warrant. The owner and his wife were reportedly handcuffed.

“The wife sat in the SWAT tank with her two young children. The husband sat handcuffed on a driveway of another home on the street,” said one neighbor who asked not to be identified. “There were six men, fully decked out in armor, head gear and rifles, on this Homeland Security tank, as it rolled down the street.”

Haley said she didn’t believe there were any arrests made in connection with the Wednesday operation.

“I can’t pinpoint when it will culminate or how it will culminate,” Haley said.

Police Bust Synthetic Drug Producers


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Law enforcement agencies across the country announced Thursday the results of the first nationwide sting against the producers of synthetic drugs. Police arrested more than 90 people and seized about 5 million packages of drugs.

Synthetic drug use is on the rise, especially among young people.

According to a 2011 survey by the University of Michigan, synthetic marijuana – also known as Spice or K2 – is the second favorite drug among high school seniors. The drugs are highly addictive and sometimes deadly.

Getting the drugs is easy: A teenager at a smoke shop can buy a package the size of airline peanuts for $10. They’re marketed with names like “Zombie Matter”, “Black Magic” and “Scobby Snax”.

“This is packaged just like candy,” said Frank Ortez, a commander with the sheriff’s department in El Paso. “If you look at this, it looks just like a package of Pop Rocks.”

President Obama signed a law this month that prohibits the sale, production and possession of the substances used to make synthetic drugs.

Police make local bath salts bust


VERONA TOWNSHIP — The Huron County Sheriff’s Office along with the Bad Axe Police Department made a large, bath salts-related drug bust on Joyce Drive on Tuesday afternoon.

After serving a search warrant, authorities entered the residence to find three individuals present, with one appearing to be in the process of injecting a substance into their arm.

Used, new and loaded syringes were reported to be strewn across the entire residence.

Through the course of about four and a half hours, nearly 50 grams of bath salts were confiscated along with about 15 syringes that were loaded with an unknown substance. Authorities believe the syringes contain a bath salt solution.

Also found in the bust were prescription drugs, possible morphine, K2 and other unknown pills, along with nearly $1,000 in cash.

The current street value of bath salts is ranging from $40 a gram to as much as $80 a gram. This value is roughly double what bath salts cost before being recently deemed illegal.

The search warrant was the result of a lengthy investigation initiated in a cooperative effort between both police departments. Some cooperation from the occupants was received and the investigation will continue.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” said Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson. “We receive tips on almost a daily basis, but it makes it difficult when the tipster doesn’t really want to get involved.”

While the bust is believed to be of a large dealer in the area, officials said the bath salts issue will continue to be an problem.

“By no means has the bath salts problem come to an end,” Hanson said.

The sheriff’s office has been in communication with the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office and been discussing options on criminal charges.

Huron Central Ambulance also assisted at the scene.
Authorities encourage anyone with tips on illegal drug activity to contact the sheriff’s office at 989-269-6500 during regular business hours or Huron Central Dispatch at 989-269-6421 anytime. There is also a confidential tips line at 989-269-2861.


Detectives Ron Garrison (back left) and Ross Partee (front left), and officer Megan DeWitt (back right), of the Vero Beach Police Department, escort Kiritbathi Patel, owner of Jimmy’s G.K. Foodmart, to the back of a waiting police car after a raid at his business Tuesday afternoon. Detectives found 72 packets of ‘spice’, three firearms and over $61,000 in cash at the store. On March 23, the state of Florida made possession of ‘spice’ illegal.

 

 

 

Hillsborough raids part of nationwide sweep of “spice” labs


Tampa, Florida —  Six warehouses in Hillsborough County were raided Wednesday during a nationwide sweep of synthetic “spice” marijuana labs.

At a warehouse space on 12th Avenue East near Ybor, the sweet, fruity smell still lingers in the air this morning.

Federal and local agents say they seized millions of dollars worth of the product and cash.

“We’ve obviously got thousands and thousands of pounds of product here. We’re gonna have large sums of currency as well,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, whose agency assisted in the raid.

Sheriff Gee says the raw product would be shipped into the area and then it would be prepared, packaged and shipped from the Tampa warehouses.

“There’s so much volume, we loaded up truck after truck and truck of evidence and I think when that comes to light, you’ll see that millions of dollars changed hands in this trade,” said Capt. Kyle Cockreamer, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Division.

Some of the product sold went by the names ‘Scooby Snax’ or ‘OMG’ showing cartoon characters clearly marketed to a younger generation.

Capt. Cockreamer says they conducted a survey of area hospitals in a four county area and found that more than 100 people went to the ER after smoking K-2 or Spice.

He says 57% of those patients were between 14 and 20 years old.

“A 3-month-old, for example, we have on record for going to the hospital for second hand smoke,” said Capt. Cockreamer.

The feds targeted 66 cities across the country on Tuesday. Agents had to wear Hazmat suits as they cleared out the warehouses due to the overwhelming smell of chemicals. Several barrels of acetone were also removed from the building.

One man who works in the area of one of the targeted warehouses says he knew something was going on. He didn’t want to be identified, but tells 10 News he would often smell a fruity, chemical type smell in the air, especially on very hot days.

He also says he saw the men spraying down the green plants with chemicals like acetone and formaldehyde.

“We don’t know what’s in the stuff,” said Sheriff Gee.

Investigators also seized 55 gallon barrels of 200-proof ethanol which is sprayed on the green leafy material called damiana to bind the chemical cocktail to the plant. A small spark could have sent the buildings up in flames.

Forty-seven people were working in the warehouses. Federal agents have their names and took testimony for the possible use in future prosecution.

The raids come in the weeks after a new federal law expands the ban on the chemicals considered illegal to use. Manufacturers would often get around the law by changing the chemical formulas.

“We are confident that a lot of chemicals we found at these search warrants that were served are going to be included in a list of banned substances,” said Capt. Cockreamer.

The Poison Control Center reports nearly 7,000 calls related to synthetic marijuana last year according to the DEA. That’s up from 2,906 calls in 2010.

Synthetic marijuana is also being blamed for the death of a 19 year old from Minnesota.

The DEA will hold its news conference with the national total of seizures at 1:30 p.m.

Hillsborough County search warrant locations:

Wild Incense Distribution Warehouse-4401 E 10th Ave,Tampa

Wild Incense Manufacturing Facility-4101 E. 12th Ave, Tampa

Stop Smoke Shop (Retail Distributor)-10821 N. 56th Street, Tampa

Private Residence-15708 Gulf Blvd, Redington Beach FL

Jonny Clearwater Manufacturing-10134 Fisher Ave, Suite A-2 Brandon FL

Warehouse-6308 Benjamin Road Suite #710, Tampa

 

 

 

 

Millions of dollars worth of synthetic drugs confiscated


 

Around five million packets of synthetic drugs have been seized. Everything from spice to bath salts have been picked up in raids across the nation as part of Operation Log Jam, the first ever nationwide action against the production and sale of synthetic drugs.

Thousands of those drugs came from Hancock County. Numerous complaints from citizens and local hospitals, treating patients who used synthetic drugs, led law enforcement to target four stores in Hancock County.

More than 27,000 packets of spice, potpourri and bath salts were confiscated from Bay Tobacco, Kiln Tobacco, Herbal Alternatives and Rob Shop.

The Drug Enforcement Administration took the lead in getting the millions of dollars worth of products off the streets.

Daniel Comeaux with D.E.A. said, “Unfortunately the public perception is that it is safe, and it’s absolutely not safe for consumption.”

Those who take the drugs can experience anything from hallucinations to even death. Law enforcers said one of the reasons it is so dangerous is because it is made and packaged locally.

Roland Jones with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said, “It’s kind of like methamphetamine labs, it doesn’t take a lot to be a producer or put this stuff together and I think that’s where we see the most proliferation of it.”

Agents are confident the products contain illegal chemicals, but arrests will not be made until the D.E.A. lab in Dallas confirms that. The raids followed a year long investigation in which informants made buys at the four stores, which tested positive.

“All of these locations were engaged in selling controlled substances,” Jones said.

Although thousands of the drugs are off the shelves in Hancock County, Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike DeNardo said he knows there is more out there.

“Like anything else, you take something away and something replaces it, so we will keep on top of it,” DeNardo said. “I hope the businessmen selling the stuff understand this won’t be tolerated.”

Comeaux said,”We are untied. We are fighting this issue and we will continue to fight it.”

WLOX stopped by all the shops raided and all were open for business Thursday, but most did not want to talk about the raid.

The owner of Herbal Alternatives did tell us, they have not sold spice since 2010, but they said they sell potpourri and it is legal.

Drug agents said manufacturers try to get around the law with warnings on the packages that read, not for human consumption, but officials said, there is really no legitimate use for the product.

 

 

Federal authorities crack down on synthetic drugs


In the first national crackdown on the burgeoning synthetic drug industry, federal drug agents have arrested 90 people and seized more than 5 million packets of the drugs, which may affect ongoing investigations in Wisconsin, authorities said Thursday.

The operation, launched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, targeted synthetic drugs often marked as bath salts, incense, plant food or Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana.

None of the arrests occurred in Milwaukee, but cases under investigation may be connected to those takedowns, according to DEA assistant special agent in charge James Bohn of the Milwaukee office.

“We have ongoing local investigations into synthetic drugs that may be impacted by these other operations that occurred yesterday (Wednesday),” Bohn said.

According to the DEA office in Chicago, several seizures were made in other jurisdictions based on infor mation obtained from the investigations in Wisconsin.

Synthetic cannabis has been a bigger problem in Milwaukee than the so-called bath salts, according to Milwaukee police Capt. Anthony Smith, head of the narcotics division of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Nationwide, people are inventing so many new ways to get high that lawmakers can’t seem to keep up.

Over the past two years, the U.S. has seen a surge in the use of synthetic drugs made of legal chemicals that mimic the dangerous effects of cocaine, amphetamines and other illegal stimulants.

The drugs are often sold at small, independent stores in misleading packaging that suggests common household items such as bath salts, incense and plant food. But the substances inside are powerful, mind-altering drugs that have been linked to bizarre and violent behavior across the country. Law enforcement officials refer to the drugs collectively as “bath salts,” though they have nothing in common with the fragrant toiletries used to moisturize skin.

States have been passing laws to outlaw synthetic marijuana and the so-called bath salts, and in 2011 Wisconsin passed such laws.

Smith said, however, that it is difficult to keep up with changes in the drugs.

“You change one minor thing and you change the chemical content and skirt the law,” Smith said.

Smith said that in Milwaukee law enforcement agencies see more traditional drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and heroin. But the synthetic drugs are certainly here, he said.

President Barack Obama signed a bill into law earlier this month that bans the sale, production and possession of more than two dozen of the most common bath salt drugs. But health professionals say lawmakers cannot keep pace with bath salt producers, who constantly adjust their chemical formulations to come up with new synthetic drugs that aren’t covered by new laws. Experts who have studied the problem estimate there are more than 100 different bath salt chemicals in circulation.

“The moment you start to regulate one of them, they’ll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

There are no back alleys or crack houses in America’s latest drug epidemic. The problem involves potent substances that amateur chemists make, package and sell in stores under brands such as “Ivory Wave,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss” for as little as $15.

Emergencies related to the drugs have surged: The American Association of Poison Control Centers received more than 6,100 calls about bath salt drugs in 2011 – up from just 304 the year before – and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012.

The problem for lawmakers is that it’s difficult to crack down on the drugs. U.S. laws prohibit the sale or possession of all substances that mimic illegal drugs, but only if federal prosecutors can show that they are intended for human use. People who make bath salts and similar drugs work around this by printing “not for human consumption” on the packet.

Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the intended use for bath salts is clear.

“Everyone knows these are drugs to get high, including the sellers,” she said.

Many states have banned some of the most common bath salts, which are typically sold by small businesses such as convenience stores, tobacco shops and adult book stores. For instance, West Virginia legislators banned the bath salt drug MDPV last year, making it a misdemeanor to sell, buy or possess the synthetic drug.

Conviction means up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, says there are so many different drugs out there that it’s almost impossible to know what people have ingested, or how long the effects will last.

“Cocaine is cocaine and meth is meth. We know what these things do,” he said. “But with these new drugs, every time the chemist alters the chemical structure, all bets are off.”

The financial lure for small-time drug makers is enticing. The drugs can be cheaply imported from China or India, and then easily packaged under local brands.

The widespread availability of the drugs in stores is equally alluring for drug users: They can get a cheap high similar to that of illegal drugs by walking to a corner store.

The most dangerous synthetic drugs are stimulants that affect levels of both dopamine and serotonin, brain chemicals that affect mood and perception. Users, who typically smoke or snort the drugs, may experience a surge in energy, fever and delusions of invincibility.

Hospital emergency rooms, doctors and law enforcement agencies across the country have struggled to control bath salt drug users who often are feverish and paranoid that they are being attacked. Doctors say users often turn up naked because bath salts raise their body temperature so much that they strip off their clothing.

To control the spread of the problem, the DEA issued a temporary ban in October on three of the most common drugs – mephedrone, methylone and MDPV.

That ban became permanent under the bill signed by Obama on July 10. Under the law, anyone convicted of selling, making or possessing 28 synthetic drugs, including bath salts, will face penalties similar to those for dealing traditional drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Those on the front lines say the legislation is a good start. But they don’t expect new laws to dramatically curb use of bath salts in the near term.

“The problem is these drugs are changing, and I’m sure they’re going to find some that are a little bit different chemically so they don’t fall under the law,” said Sullivan Smith, a Tennessee doctor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Big drug raids target ‘spice’ sellers, marijuana growers in cornfield


Idaho has seen two major drug raids in the last 24 hours, as federal authorities raided 11 locations in Twin Falls County in a crackdown on selling “spice,” or synthetic marijuana; and Idaho State Police detectives, along with aerial support, raided 12 marijuana grow sites in a Gooding County cornfield, pulling 3,684 marijuana plants that ISP said have an estimated street value of more than $7 million.

The ISP received an anonymous tip last night, prompting the cornfield raid; they’re asking anyone with information to call  a tip hotline at (800) 524-7277.

The spice raids, which were preceded by five indictments for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, were part of a nationwide spice crackdown and targeted businesses including a Twin Falls auto sales lot, a skate shop, a tattoo and body piercing shop and more. The defendants, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison. Click below for a full announcement from Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson; the raid is part of a national push that earlier targeted 13 head shops in the Treasure Valley, in which nine were found to be openly selling spice.

Said Olson, “This week’s law enforcement actions should send a strong message that if you’re selling spice under any name or packaging you need to stop.”

 

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney

District of Idaho

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ON JULY 26, 2012

 

Five People Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Idaho on “Spice” Charges

Part of Nationwide Law Enforcement Effort Called “Operation Log Jam”

 

BOISE – United States Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that fourteen search warrants were executed yesterday by law enforcement agencies at eleven locations in Twin Falls County, and three locations in Tigard, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington.  In addition, five individuals were arrested following their indictment Tuesday on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue.  The warrants were related to a nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of dangerous and deadly drugs that are often marketed as bath salts, “spice,” incense, or plant food, which are prohibited under the federal controlled substance analogue statute.

Search warrants were executed at the following Magic Valley locations:

•                     All State Auto Sales, 2135 Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     All State Auto Sales, 284 Washington Street North, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Boo Boo’s Skate Shop, 143 4th Avenue West, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Churchman’s Jewelry, 153 Main Avenue West, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Dark Side Glass Blowers, 2487 Kimberly Rd., Suite H, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Fat Ratt Tattoo & Body Piercing, 1440 Blue Lakes Blvd.. North, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Smoke N’ Head, 287 Washington Street North, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     Ta Ta’s, 221 South Lincoln Suite C, Jerome, Idaho

•                     175 Bellevue Court, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     482 Cypress Way, Twin Falls, Idaho

•                     3295 Longbow, Twin Falls, Idaho

 

Search warrants were also executed at:

 

•                     A & J Distribution, 15757 Southwest 74th Ave, #590, Tigard, Oregon

•                     15012 South West Summerview Dr., Tigard, Oregon

•                     A & J Distribution, 1321 North East 76th Ave. Suite A, Vancouver, Washington

Four defendants were arrested in Idaho and one in Oregon.  The five were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Pocatello, Idaho, on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue.   Those arrested were:  Allen W. Nagel, 44, of Twin Falls, Idaho; Stephanie D. Nagel, 38, of Twin Falls; Gary E. Nagel, 45, of Twin Falls; Josh Cserepes, 26, of Twin Falls; and Joshua P. Becker, 32, of Tigard, Oregon.  Becker was arraigned yesterday in federal court in Oregon.  He was detained and ordered to be transported to Idaho for an appearance in federal court in Pocatello on August 1.  The four Twin Falls defendants will be arraigned in federal court in Pocatello tomorrow morning.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, and a minimum three years of supervised release.

The execution of the Magic Valley search warrants and federal indictment in Pocatello follow by two months the execution of federal search warrants at 13 Treasure Valley head shops.  According to the Treasure Valley search warrant affidavits, nine of the 13 businesses were openly selling “spice,” a substance that tested positive for AM-2201.  The DEA has determined that AM-2201 is a controlled substance analogue.  Sixteen individuals face federal charges for conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia in connection with the Treasure Valley case.  In Idaho, both investigations are part of Operation Not for Human Consumption.  “Spice,” a synthetic form of cannabis, which is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product that, when consumed, mimics the effects of cannabis.   In the spring of 2011, the Idaho Legislature criminalized the sale of “spice” under state law.  In March of 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed five synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

“This week’s law enforcement actions should send a strong message that if you’re selling spice under any name or packaging you need to stop,” said Olson.  “Federal, state and local law enforcement in Idaho are committed to using all available tools and resources to keep these dangerous synthetic substances out of communities throughout the state.  Although we don’t yet know the full toll that these substances that mimic cannabis have taken on users, we do know that emergency room workers, parents and law enforcement officers all have terrifying stories of medically dangerous and sometimes deadly reactions.  In Idaho, we are proud to stand with DEA and our colleagues throughout the nation in taking these strong steps to combat this growing drug problem.”

“These deadly products were designed for and targeted at our youth,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes.  “This sweeping coast to coast enforcement action is a warning that DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to seek out those who endanger our communities.”

“ATF always stands ready to support its state and local partners in serving and protecting communities,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The searches and arrests were conducted as part of a nationwide law enforcement effort called “Operation Log Jam,” which targeted every level of the synthetic drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, in more than 80 U.S. cities.

The indictment was the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with Twin Falls City Police Department, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Idaho State Police, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Nampa City Police Department, Meridian City Police Department, Gooding County Sheriff’s Office, Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, and Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office.  Local law enforcement assisted in executing arrest and search warrants in Vancouver, Washington and Tigard, Oregon.

The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.

An indictment is only an allegation of criminal conduct and is not evidence of guilt.  A person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

45,000 spice packets confiscated in recent drug sweep


Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents confiscated more than 45,000 packets of synthetic cannabis, or so-called “spice” from Albuquerque sellers as part of Wednesday’s drug sweep.

The agents said everything from the way spice is made to the way it is tested is illegal, calling it drug dealing in stores.

But Independent Small Retail Business Association President Jerry Sedillo, who spoke on behalf of a smoke shop raided, took issue with the raid.

“We have nothing to hide,” Sedillo said as he defended the M&M Smoke Shop at Central and University, one of its members. “Our memberships do not sell bath salts, do not sell spice, they sell incense.”

But M&M was one of 16 places raided for the aforementioned synthetic substances.

And back in May, an undercover 4 On Your Side investigation revealed spice was being sold there.

But Sedillo claims their legal proof is in the testing of the substance.

“These are legitimate labs we send out samples to make sure there’s nothing banned in the substance,” Sedillo said.

He could not provide a specific laboratory’s name.

“The laboratories that are doing this – they’re breaking the law themselves,” DEA Agent Keith Brown said. “They’re accepting controlled substances from people that are not registered from DEA to have them.”

Smoke shops who sell spice and bath salts are operating under the false impression of quality control, when in fact, there is none, Brown said.

“These labs have sprung up to fulfill a need to provide that, ‘Oh no, these don’t contain these 12 chemicals,'” Brown said. “But they don’t put on their does not contain list that number 13 is actually there; they just say, ‘does not contain these 12.'”

But Sedillo said they are simply staying within the confines of the law. He said if the substance isn’t on the banned list, then it’s “perfectly legal.”

“This is more complicated than marijuana or meth, just as illegal, but it’s more complicated,” Brown said.