Accused Bath Salts Drug Dealer From Newport Coast Keeps Striking Out


Since his arrest a year ago, accused international drug dealer Sean Libbert of Newport Coast has gone on a stark losing streak against the U.S. Department of Justice.

Libbert lost, temporarily won and finally lost efforts to obtain pre-trial release on bail from U.S. marshal custody because he’s considered a flight risk and has ties to communist China.

He’s watched his co-defendant, Kyle Kledzik of Dana Point, cut a quick, guilty plea that, though sealed, likely strengthens the government’s case against an operation that allegedly sold synthetic marijuana, hallucinogenic party drug called bath salts as well as .

Accused Bath Salts Drug Dealer From Newport Coast Keeps Striking Out

And this month a federal judge rejected his efforts to dismiss 14 of the 16 charges on technicalities.

Craig Wilkie, Libbert’s defense lawyer, argued the indictment was “fatally defective” because it failed to allege whether the government intends to prove the synthetic drugs have a hallucinogenic effect on a user’s central nervous system or whether his client made sales pitches asserting the effect.

“As the court may recall from the earlier bail litigation, Mr. Libbert owned and operated a company (Research Chemical Supplier) that openly sold over the Internet substances which are alleged to be controlled substance analogues, and his company website conspicuously warned consumers that the substances were not for human consumption,” Wilkie told U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney. “Mr. Libbert’s criminal liability depends on whether the substances are ‘controlled substance analogues’ within the meaning of [federal law], which in turn depends on whether he represented or intended the substance to have a stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system [similar to a schedule I or II controlled substance].”

To Wilkie, the grand jury indictment is based on a “legally insufficient theory” that someone other than Mr. Libbert made the central nervous system impact claims to clients across the nation.

But while Carney did not agree charges should be dismissed, he thought Wilkie’s argument scored in part.

“Notwithstanding the sufficiency of the indictment, the court is sympathetic to Mr. Libbert’s concerns in preparing his defense without notice of whether the alleged controlled substances analogues are so defined because of their physiological effects or because Mr. Libbert represented or intended such effects, or both,” Carney declared before ordering DOJ officials “to clarify and identify with precision” its case.

Prosecutors say Libbert faces a potential life in prison punishment if convicted because of his prior criminal history. He sparked a manhunt by becoming a fugitive in a prior drug conviction, violated laws against felons possessing weapons, sold Ecstasy as well as committed burglary, theft, hit and run, and DUI, according to court records.

The case–involving Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS and Department of Homeland Security agents–is the first in Southern California alleging violations of the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act that makes it illegal to manufacture or possess chemicals intended for human consumption that have similar nervous system impacts to controlled substances like marijuana or Ecstasy.

Libbert’s indictment alleges the defendant lived a life of luxury hauling in about $12 million a year.

Four Chinese nationals were also arrested for their alleged roles in the narcotics operation.

Advertisements

Synthetic Marijuana: Chicago Police Seize 100 Pounds Of Banned Substance In Raid


Chicago police say the pounds of synthetic marijuana and paraphernalia seized from a Northwest Side warehouse Friday was bound for the streets and marketed directly at children.

A task force that monitors possible drug shipments alerted Chicago police Friday that a 64-pound package containing banned substances could be bound for Chicago, and the CPD obtained a warrant to search the destination warehouse, the Chicago Tribune reports. Inside they found 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana, valued at about $775,000.

Police are calling the warehouse and its operations a “shipping hub for narcotics,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports. While executing the warrant, police also found more than 100 cases of drug-related paraphernalia including packing and shipping materials and cash.

Earlier this month, the CPD intercepted $265,000 worth of synthetic marijuana bound for Chicago packaged in “Scooby Snax” foil packets. The same packaging was found on synthetic marijuana in the Northwest Side warehouse bust, ABC Chicago reports.

“Synthetic marijuana poses a significant public health risk and it is important to keep this product from hitting our streets,” James O’Grady, Commander of the Narcotics Division, told Fox Chicago after the first package was intercepted.

Chicagoan Rajendrakumar Patel, 52, and Davendra Patel, 61, of Bloomingdale were arrested after police executed the search warrant and face two felony counts each of possession of a controlled substance, NBC Chicago reports.

Attention All Readers – You Must Know


All yellow Porsche 997 Turbo

First i would like to thank each and every reader that has made our blog one of the largest if not the largest for herbal incense and bath salt reviews and news. I have had so many emails these past 2 months asking me if you can buy herbal incense products from me. I just dont have time to email every request back that i get and i never want a reader to think that we are not interacting with you.

Here is the facts, we do not in any way shape or form sell herbal incense products. We are simply a resource for information in the herbal incense spice world. We enjoy giving readers information about the herbal incense spice busts and the incense industy reviews on herbal products. I know that the DEA and law enforcement has cracked down hard on several business across the USA over the past 2 months and now herbal incense is much harder to find.

I know this because everyday i get all the news and busts from our large database of resources and news streams. But i want to make it very clear we are only a resource for learning everything there is to know about herbal incense and news. We do not sell, stock, or tell clients where to buy herbal products or bath salts. If a client sends us a sample of there herbal incense products and its a legal product, we will review that product and write a post to edcuate the public on what we feel about that product. Keep in mind everyone has a different opion about herbal products and everything in life.

Here is an example, i have a freind of mine that bought a brand new porsche and its an amazing car. But that car is bright yellow and to me its screams UGLY. Now everyone else might just love yellow porsches, but i cant stand yellow cars. Now if i was to write a review about that bright yellow car i would say what a nice ride but bad choice in the cars color. Lets say i posted a pic it here

Now how many of you think this yellow porsche 997 turbo is amazing? Well when i look at it i just see a yellow BEE.

So my point is that everyone does not agree on everything. Many times when i post about a herbal incense i have tried i do my best to insure that i let people know just how strong there herbal spice is. Well to me – a daily smoker, its not as strong as someone that might only smoke once a month. Thats why i do my best to be honest so that my readers know what there getting before they get it. But thats only my opion. If i here of any great websites selling wholesale herbal incense i will make a post and update you and try to do a mass email on all the requests that i get for it.

But honstly i dont like to tell people where to buy any products, just give you a review of what i tried what my personal opion is of that product and where i got it from.
Hope this helps and as always thanks for all the support from our readers. It really is awesome. We have over 300,000 visits per week and thats truly amazing!

ICE participates in nationwide synthetic drug takedown


ICE participates in nationwide synthetic drug takedown

 

WASHINGTON – More than 90 individuals were arrested and approximately 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. More than $36 million in cash was also seized.

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

Operation Log Jam was conducted jointly by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as state and local law enforcement members in more than 109 U.S. cities and targeted every level of the synthetic designer drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

“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,” said Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations James Chaparro. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

“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,” said DEA 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 synthetic drug industry is an emerging area where we can leverage our financial investigative expertise to trace the path of illicit drug proceeds by identifying the financial linkages among the various co-conspirators,” said Richard Weber, chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the highest level drug trafficking and drug money laundering organizations that pose the greatest threat to Americans and American interests.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service aggressively investigates the use of the U.S. Mail system for the distribution of illegal controlled substances and its proceeds. Our agency uses a multi-tiered approach to these crimes: protection against the use of the mail for illegal purposes and enforcement of laws against drug trafficking and money laundering. This includes collaboration with other agencies,” said Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell.

“The mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to guard our country’s borders from people and goods that could harm our way of life,” said Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “We are proud to be part of an operation that disrupts the flow of synthetic drugs into the country and out of the hands of the American people.”

Over the past several years, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic cathinones (stimulants/hallucinogens) sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food.” Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” or “Bliss,” these products are comprised of a class of dangerous substances perceived to mimic cocaine, LSD, MDMA and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe.

These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults and those who mistakenly believe they can bypass the drug testing protocols that have been set up by employers and government agencies to protect public safety. They are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

Smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high have also become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, because they are easily available and, in many cases, they are more potent and dangerous than marijuana. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Just as with the synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

While many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Operation Log Jam are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (AEA) allows these drugs to be treated as controlled substances if they are proven to be chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. A number of cases that are part of Operation Log Jam will be prosecuted federally under this analogue provision, which specifically exists to combat these new and emerging designer drugs.

DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to combat both synthetic cathinones (the so-called bath salts like Ivory Wave, etc.) and synthetic cannabinoids (the so-called incense products like K2, Spice, etc.), temporarily placing several of these dangerous chemicals into Schedule I of the CSA. Congress has also acted, permanently placing 26 substances into Schedule I of the CSA.

In 2010, poison centers nationwide responded to about 3,200 calls related to synthetic “Spice” and “bath salts.” In 2011, that number jumped to more than 13,000 calls. Sixty percent of the cases involved patients 25 and younger

INFO FROM http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1207/120726washingtondc.htm

DEA Cracks Down on Synthetic Designer Drugs


The Drug Enforcement Agency has seized more than $36 million in cash and arrested nearly 100 people in a nationwide crackdown on synthetic designer drugs.

The drugs, with names like K2, Spice, and Bath Salts are among the newest drugs of choice in cities across the United States.

DEA agent James Burns said,

“This stuff, in the DEA’s eyes, is just as bad as methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroine,” DEA agent James Burns said.

“When you’re charging $60 for a 3 gram pack of some of this stuff, and it’s labeled glass cleaner, or plant food, or bath salts, I mean, that raises a red flag with me, and it should raise a red flag with any rational individual,” he said.

As part of “Operation Log Jam,” the DEA raided targets in 109 cities. After a raid at a San Diego business, one man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was always a bit suspicious.

“You’d come around, and there’d be a guy walking around with a lab coat and goggles out in the parking lot,” he said. “Of course it makes you think it’s something not normal.”

DEA officials said the substances can be found at smoke shops, convenience stores, and gas stations. They’re often disguised innocently, and some are even sold in wrappers with cartoon characters.

“Sold in legitimate looking packages, these insidious substances are marketed directly to teenagers and to young adults with benign and catchy titles,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said.

Experts say the drugs can cause extreme paranoia, violent episodes, and death.

In the aftermath of this crackdown, the DEA said there are five million fewer packets of these drugs on the streets. The message, they say, should be clear to dealers.

“You are nothing more than a drug trafficker, and we will bring you to justice,” Leonhart said.

The agency has temporarily banned some of the chemicals found in synthetic marijuana. This month the president signed into law a measure that bans the sale, production, and possession of many of the chemicals found in the most popular synthetic drugs.

Experts who have studied the drugs estimate that there are more than 100 different bath-salt chemicals circulating. The compounds can mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine.

Leonhart said those arrested could face a variety of state or federal criminal charges.

 


 

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.

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.

 

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.

Feds tout first national bust of synthetic drugs


Federal officials touted success in their first national operation against synthetic drugs.

President Obama recently signed a law to ban the high-inducing chemical compounds sold as bath salts, “Spice” and “K2.” The substances have been linked to violent episodes and deaths, and became available in retail stores and online as their popularity increased.

Law enforcement officials made 90 arrests as part of Operation Log Jam, a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and several other agencies.

 

The head of the DEA said the effort disrupted the “entire” synthetic drug industry by targeting retailers and manufacturers alike.

“We are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative, and investigative tool at our disposal,” Michele M. Leonhart said.

The action netted 5 million packets of finished synthetic drugs and the raw materials that could have been used to create nearly three times that amount. Officials also seized $36 million in cash.

“Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic-drug industry,” said James Chaparro, an investigations official at ICE.

“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.”

Poison control centers saw cases related to synthetic drugs more than quadruple between 2010 and 2011, according to the DEA.

Users report experiencing “impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes,” the agency said, warning that the drugs’ long-term effects are “potentially severe.”

 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) praised the operation and invoked a constituent, David Rozga, who reportedly committed suicide after taking one of the drugs.

“It’s a testament to the cynicism and greed of manufacturers, importers, and distributors that these products were ever put on store shelves,” Grassley said.

“If they have any conscience, they’ll find legitimate ways to make money instead of preying on 18-year-olds.”