SALEM, N.H. — Less than 48 hours after federal agents and local police raided a store for synthetic drugs, a local teenager apparently had a bad reaction after using them.
Police were called to a home on S. Policy Street late Thursday night after a caller reported a 17-year-old male was “flipping out.”
When police arrived, the teenager was “shirtless, lethargic and sweating heavily,” according to police reports.
“He appeared to be heavily impaired,” the report said.
Both the teen and his mother told police he had been smoking K2 and Crazy Monkey bath salts, according to police documents.
K2 is a brand name for synthetic marijuana. Those products were targets of a nationwide Drug Enforcement Administration effort Wednesday to shut down retail stores and manufacturing sites, and significantly cut down the availability of synthetic designer drugs.
Can You Dig It at 101 Main St. was one of four sites raided in New England, one of three in New Hampshire.
The pawn shop/tattoo parlor, which also sells “decorative” swords, pepper spray, adult novelties and clothing, pipes, rolling papers, DVDs and more, was swarmed by DEA agents, Salem and North Andover police Wednesday morning.
Some 76 cardboard boxes, marked as DEA evidence, were removed from the store Wednesday, filling two pickup trucks and a large SUV. No arrests have been made locally in connection with the sweep, dubbed Operation Log Jam, but local officials have said they expect that to happen at some point.
It’s the DEA’s show and, short of a press conference and news release Thursday, there hasn’t been a lot of specific information released. Repeated phone calls to the Boston DEA office have not been returned.
No one has said what kind of material was taken from the store during the execution of a federal search warrant. While local police were helping at the scene, it is in federal hands.
But Salem police will continue to monitor and investigate any activity around synthetic drugs, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday.
“Frankly, after the raids and working with the DEA, the officers found it ironic we would have an overdose of this type right after we had conducted that raid in close proximity,” he said yesterday.
The teen has not been charged and police can’t be sure he had taken K2 or bath salts, Patten said, but it seemed feasible.
“It’s consistent with use of those types of synthetic drugs,” he said.
The teenager was evaluated by Salem fire personnel and transported to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.
He wouldn’t tell police where he got the drugs and said he was smoking alone, according to police reports.
Salem detectives spent some time Thursday visiting other stores in town that were suspected of or known to sell synthetic drugs, Patten said.
“Our detectives went around to all the other stores and advised them the stuff on the shelves was illegal and they looking for voluntary compliance before taking action,” he said. “All the stores we visited had already removed it from their shelves prior to our arrival.”
While Patten said police are happy with the level of voluntary compliance, they will continue to monitor activity and urge anyone who sees the products for sale to notify police.
He said police had been monitoring all the stores where they knew synthetic marijuana or bath salts were being sold, but the volume of activity and the inventory at Can You Dig It was much greater than at any other local business.
The store owner, Judith Tridenti of North Andover, has denied any illegal activity, according to her lawyer.
“There were several specific overdoses and issues that came out of that specific store,” Patten said. “We have had all the stores selling this merchandise under investigation. Can You Dig It was a larger supplier and was brought to the attention of federal investigators. They chose to include that store as part of the federal raid.”
If any store that has removed the items from its shelves starts selling them again, he said, charges would be forthcoming.
“One store owner told us the markup is enormous,” Patten said.
“He would buy it for $2 a pack and sell it for $20.” Several store owners told detectives they were unaware the products were illegal.
“I really believe the goal of the DEA was to shut off supply lines coming into the country, making it unavailable for sale in the U.S.,” Patten said.
“For us in Salem specifically, hopefully, it makes it more difficult for people to get, and easier for us to monitor and enforce.”