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.

Troubleshooter: Cops can’t stop store from selling spice

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) – A dangerous drug is being sold right out in the open right in the heart of Kentuckiana. The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department went undercover to expose how one local business is getting away with it and why police have not been able to stop it.

Business is booming at one of southern Indiana’s hottest new locations, but no one wants to talk about what is on the menu.

Police said what they are buying inside Monroe’s in Clarksville is synthetic marijuana. Its street name is spice. Spice is a shredded, dried plant sprayed with chemicals that produces a mind altering high.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse said people who smoke spice often feel psychotic effects. The effects include extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations that have been linked to illness and death.

Spice is illegal in Indiana, but Troubleshooter Eric Flack discovered it is being sold right out in the open at Monroe’s. Hidden camera video caught a seemingly revolving door as streams of customers come and go. Parents and professionals. Young and old.

“I’ve seen it busier than Kroger right next door,” said Cpl. Tony Lehman of the Clarksville Police Department.

A WAVE 3 Troubleshooter producer went in undercover with a hidden camera to get a look at what was going on inside. The video shows there is nothing in the store but a pool table, a coke machine, a display case of glass pipes, and a man behind a counter who chose his words carefully.

“What you trying to get?” the man asked our undercover producer. She told him she was looking for spice.

“We don’t sell spice baby,” he said. “We got some incense.”

Although he referred to what he was selling as incense, his intent seemed clear when we asked him about the range of prices.

“Depends on how strong you want your incense,” the man told our undercover producer.

The undercover producer ended up buying something called Triple-X. It cost about $10 and was labeled “not for human consumption”, but it looked exactly like the synthetic marijuana linked to all those dangerous side effects.

The guy who gave our producer the Triple-X would not come out and talk to Troubleshooter Eric Flack when he returned to Monroe’s to get an explanation about what they were selling.

“Cut that (expletive) camera off man,” he said.

The Clarksville Police Department has been investigating the store for months but thus far have been unable to make any arrests.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Cpl. Lehman said. “It’s just horrible for the community, it’s horrible for the kids and people who smoke this stuff, and its so frustrating that we can’t do anything about it.”

The Troubleshooter Department discovered the reason police can not do anything about it. Technology used by Indiana State Police can not keep up with the problem.

State Representative Milo Smith, who wrote Indiana’s spice law, said ISP’s lab equipment is not advanced enough to identify the newer, altered compounds of synthetic marijuana, which can be just a few molecules different from the original. Police said they can not press charges until tests confirm the presence of those banned chemical compounds.

Representative Smith said state police have not given up. He said ISP is now searching for private labs with equipment capable of proving what is being sold at Monroe’s is illegal so they can stop it from being sold on the open market.

In the midst of the Troubleshooter investigation, Monroe’s was the scene of a violent confrontation with a man who allegedly tried to break into the store and steal the synthetic marijuana.

Kevin Martin is now facing a list of charges that includes resisting arrest and burglary after he fought with officers who caught him trying to rob Monroe’s. Witnesses saw Martin throw a rock through the front door and called police. When officers arrived they said Martin fought with them and tried to escape before he was finally handcuffed and taken into custody.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office is aware of growing spice problem in the area and is trying to step up enforcement and is threatening to seize the assets of businesses caught selling spice if they don not sign an affidavit to stop.

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!

Synthetic Drug Ring In Allentown Busted By DEA

Thats right 15 people were arrested in bust of alleged synthetic drugs operation run from Allentown warehouse.
NORRISTOWN, Montgomery County — The inventory in an old east Allentown warehouse was a drug user’s paradise: rows and rows of colorful glass smoking bongs, boxes holding thousands of grinders and scales, hundreds of rolling papers and about $200,000.

For store owners in the region looking to score chemically enhanced drugs like bath salts and synthetic marijuana, not to mention the goods needed to smoke them, J&L Wholesale Distributors at 1006 Hanover Ave. was the place to go, authorities say.

J&L’s lucrative enterprise, housed in a nondescript building near a day care center and in a school zone, kicked into high gear when synthetic drugs were declared illegal in Pennsylvania a year ago, authorities said.

But that came crashing down Thursday for J&L owner Kenneth Grossman when police rounded up him and 14 others, mostly from the Lehigh Valley. Authorities said they say helped push a relatively cheap high on drug users from the Lehigh Valley to New Jersey.

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All were charged with participating in a corrupt organization and profiting from the proceeds of illegal activity, both first-degree felonies, and related drug offenses.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said during a news conference with Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin that the elaborate drug sting, known as “Operation Bowls, Bongs and Beyond,” put a dent in the drug trade in both counties, yielded synthetic marijuana, two tractor-trailers filled with paraphernalia, plus several guns.

Police also seized more than $900,000, including money from the warehouse and several bank accounts, and dozens of common items such as soda cans, sugar containers and clocks that were hollowed out to create secret compartments used to hide drugs.

Grossman, 52, of 820 E. Chew St., Allentown also was part of a partnership that ran Insense Specialties, which supplied the illegal drugs, mainly synthetic marijuana and bath salts, authorities said. The others in the partnership were: Jason Grossman, 24, of 1847 Cloverdale Road, Bethlehem; Rajwant Thind, 30, of 6498 Overlook Road, Orefield; and Malwinder Mangat, 26, of 1016 Hilltop Court, Leesport.

Martin said the arrests show authorities are making good on their pledge last year to crack down on store owners selling the drugs that became illegal in August 2011 and their suppliers.

“Hopefully, they will get the message that we will prosecute,” Martin said.

Known as designer drugs, the substances are made from natural herbs and synthetic chemicals to mirror the effects of drugs like marijuana. But the drugs have been known to cause erratic and violent behavior in those who take them. Police say people high on the synthetic drugs have unusual strength and tolerance to pain.

Ferman said she was particularly disturbed that the drugs were targeted at youngsters, with packaging labeled “Scooby Snax” and with the Batman emblem. She pointed out an incident in June 30 during which a 20-year-old man from Upper Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County, involved in a vehicle crash told medics that he was hallucinating after smoking a substance called “K-2” and took his hands off the wheel “to see what happened.”

“This is a huge, profitable business and these people are in it for the money,” Ferman said. “This is a community [in Allentown] where children are in the neighborhood. These are toxic, dangerous substances.”

Ferman said J&L became the prime target of the probe involving multiple police departments after investigators realized that items seized in store busts all led back to the warehouse. Among the stores that allegedly distributed the drugs and paraphernalia: Deli Mart, South Whitehall Township; Trexler Plaza Sunoco in Upper Macungie Township; the EZ Shoppe in East Greenville; Main Street Market in Schwenksville; and U.S. Gas in Upper Frederick Township.

Detective Joseph P. Kelly Jr. of Souderton police, who helped head the investigation, said Grossman even took his show on the road to branch out, bringing samples to an October 2011 “head shop” convention in Atlantic City, N.J.,

Police went as far as setting up a fake business in Souderton to order items from J&L, and used multiple informants to pin down all of the players.

Thind, identified in court records as manager of the Trexler Plaza Sunoco at 5917 Tilghman St., Upper Macungie, told police that Kenneth Grossman took a majority of the synthetic drug product orders and that Thind and Mangat filled the orders and sent the products to customers.

The others charged were employees of Grossman’s company or store owners who bought items from J&L and resold them.

They include: Kunal G. Patel, 42, of 377 Indigo Way, Upper Macungie; Jaymin G. Patel, 45, of 457 Wild Mint Lane, Upper Macungie; Dean A. Fenstermaker Jr., 29, of 4272 Windsor Drive, Upper Macungie; Jeffrey Robertson Jr., 25, of 10441 Trexler Road, Upper Macungie; Abdulah F. Soonasra, 64, of 1713 Brookstone Drive, Alburtis; Lisa A. Zupa, 35, of 233 Harvard Avenue, Palmerton; Mohammed F. Rahman, 42, of Lansdale; Ibrahim Fayez Saloum, 41, of Schwenksville; Amy N. Velazquez, 30, of Schwenksville; Yashvant M. Patel, 49, of East Greenville; Yogesh Patel, 44, of East Greenville.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting all of the cases.

Health Department regulation will make it a violation to buy, sell or possess synthetic drugs like bath salts and fake marijuana

ALBANY — State and local law enforcement would have new power to fight the growing problem of designer drugs and fake pot under a new regulation set to be announced by Gov. Cuomo.
The Health Department regulation, to be unveiled Tuesday, will make it a violation to sell, distribute, or possess synthetic drugs like bath salts and fake pot.
Violators could face up to 15 days in jail, a small fine, or even have their businesses shut down.
“It gives law enforcement a nimble, flexible tool they can take immediate action on,” a Cuomo aide said.
The state will also create a hotline for parents and others to report stores selling the illegal products. And the Health Department will spearhead a web campaign to educate the public about the deadly drugs.
The actions come a month after President Obama signed a law to ban designer drugs and fake pot.
The Cuomo administration order doesn’t hold nearly the same power as the federal law, which carries penalties of up to 20 years in prison — or more if someone dies or is seriously hurt. The federal law also carries fines of up to $5 million for first-time offenders.
Cuomo aides say the state action is similar to going after low-level drug dealers while the feds focus on the kingpins.
“The feds are going to go after the big fish, but it’s not the big fish that are necessarily the problem,” one aide said. “It’s the bodega on the corner. And a U.S. attorney is not going to go after a bodega on the corner.”
The regulation builds on an order Cuomo’s Health Department issued last year banning the sale of the synthetic drugs and allowing for the shutdown of businesses that ignored it.
That order followed an exclusive Daily News investigation revealing the deadly dangers of the designer drug.
But manufacturers responded by simply tweaking the chemical compounds to stay ahead of the authorities.
The new regulation outlaws dozens more chemicals than the previous one and, for the first time, makes it a violation that allows local law enforcement to get involved.
Also, unlike the federal law, someone simply possessing a synthetic drug without the intent to sell it can be charged, a Cuomo aide said.
Synthetic drugs are marketed as imitating the effects of pot, cocaine and LSD. They are often masked as everyday household items like bath salts or potpourri.
But they can cause hallucinations, seizures and suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
Emergency room visits and state Poison Control calls linked to the deadly drugs have been on the rise since 2011, the state Health Department reported.
Sen. Charles Schumer, who sponsored the federal law, called the Cuomo action “another tool at our disposal.”

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


Bath salt incident draws police to Taunton Burger King

Taunton —

Police say an incident over the weekend at a local fast food restaurant illustrates the growing menace of so-called bath salts.

The synthetic designer drug, when smoked, snorted or injected, provides a cocaine or amphetamine-like intoxication that can cause hallucinations and paranoia.

Previously popular in Europe, the drug is sometimes sold domestically “under the counter” by unscrupulous convenience store or gas station owners, according to law enforcement authorities.
Taunton police at 9:45 p.m. Sunday responded to the Burger King at 294 Winthrop St. for a report of a distraught individual who was acting irrationally.

Employees and startled customers described how a man ran inside dripping of mud and water and screaming that someone was trying to kill him.

Bystanders allegedly told cops the man — later identified as 31-year-old Eric Conklin of 28 North Walker St. — then began stripping off his clothes, ran into the ladies room and locked himself in.

When an officer knocked on the bathroom door, the unclothed Conklin allegedly opened up and said, “Thank God you’re here.”

Police say during the past few weeks they’ve had numerous run-ins with Conklin, who allegedly has admitted using drugs known on the street as bath salts.

Each time, according to cops, Conklin has been highly agitated, sweating profusely, talking irrationally and claiming that someone is out to get him.

Conklin Sunday night was charged with disturbing the peace. The police report also notes that if he doesn’t get professional counseling and treatment chances are he’s likely to hurt himself or other people.

In May, a 31-year-old Miami man was shot to death after police said he chewed off chunks of flesh from the face of a 65-year-old homeless man.

Police initially suspected the attacker had been high on bath salts, but subsequent toxicology tests revealed marijuana, and not synthetic cathinones, was in his bloodstream when he brutalized the victim and threatened cops.

One night earlier this month, in Taunton, two people allegedly left their car in the middle of Summer Street and ran into the lobby of the police station claiming they had ingested bath salts.

The pair were taken to hospital where they were examined and released.

President Obama on July 9 signed a law identifying the active ingredients in bath salts as illegal. A total of 38 states now ban the sale of bath salts.

But products with names like Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave and Bliss continue to be sold in some places. Authorities in the past have said warning labels, stating the products are not suitable for human consumption, has made across-the-board enforcement difficult.

In Massachusetts the Legislature is expected to pass a measure effectively banning sale of bath-salt products.The House already passed an amendment categorizing as drug trafficking the sale of such amphetamines; the Senate, meanwhile, has until this Wednesday to act.

Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh says he’s prepared to take measures if lawmakers fail to act. Walsh said if a state law isn’t adopted to ban the sale of bath salt-like crystals, he’ll introduce a municipal ordinance making it illegal.

State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, said the bath salt issue is “something we’re serious about.”

“I’ve heard a number of horror stories,” Pacheco said. “It’s being looked at very seriously.”

Managers and owners of four Taunton convenience stores on Monday insisted they don’t and never have sold bath salts, which can sell for anywhere between $15 and $35 per gram.

Alie Soufan, owner of Grampy’s Corner Store on High Street, said he’s never seen bath salts but occasionally is asked if he sells them.

Another store owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after he informed a customer he doesn’t sell bath salts, the man and a friend eventually came back with the drug and asked why he couldn’t keep it in stock.

Peter Ibrahim, owner of Pete’s Mart on County Street, said he’s been queried on occasion by police who suspect he might have sold the potentially deadly product.

Ibrahim, 30, said in the more than eight years he’s owned his store he’s never carried such an item.

“I’ve told them they can come in here with a search warrant if they want; I’ve got nothing to hide,” said Ibrahim, who blames unnamed local competitors with spreading rumors to damage his reputation.

As for the availability of bath salts in the Taunton area, Ibrahim said he knows of at least one storeowner who in the past has sold them under the table.

‘You sold my son bath salts. I’ll kill you’: Furious father smashes up shop that sold boy legal drugs which left him in hospital

  • A mother was charged with trespassing two weeks ago after she started shouting at staff in a shop that sold ‘bath salts’
  • These drugs can be sold legally in the US as long as they are not marked for human consumption
  • In high doses, the chemicals can cause violent behaviour and terrifying hallucinations

into a rage and smashed up a shop that supplied legal ‘bath salts’ type drugs that put his son in hospital.

Justin Avery, 24, was taken to New York’s Samaritan Hospital after snorting a powder labelled ‘glass cleaner’ that his friends had called ‘fake cocaine’.

According to police reports, his father Dan then called the store where his son had paid $20 for the legal high and left a message saying: ‘You sold my kid bath salts and I’ll [expletive] kill you’.

Dangerous trade: 'Bath salts' and 'glass cleaner' are synthetic highs named after the innocuous products because they can be legally sold if they are marked as not for human consumptionDangerous trade: ‘Bath salts’ and ‘glass cleaner’ are synthetic highs named after the innocuous products because they can be legally sold if they are marked as not for human consumption

Justin had never used any drug stronger than marijuana, he said, but snorted the glass cleaner for the first time one evening because he was upset and had heard it would give him a buzz.

But by 1.30am his heart was racing wildly, he was sweating heavily and his breathing had become so laboured he thought he would die.

Three days earlier, a friend of the 24-year-old’s had apparently called Avery Sr hallucinating, afraid that people were trying to kill him.

Justin said the friend had also used the so-called ‘glass cleaner’ bought at Tebb’s Headshop, according to

Avery drove to Tebb’s, based in a little strip mall, carrying a miniature wooden baseball bat in his truck, as usual.

The slight 5’7″, 120-pound man then chased off waiting customers, screaming, ‘You need some bath salts?’

Shop worker Trevor Harding arrived and opened up, while Mr Avery went to his 2003 Ford Explorer and slid the bat into his trousers. He then went into Tebb’s and pretended to be one of the customers he had just chased away.


Bath salts are likely to be stimulant drugs such MPDV or ephedrine. The phrase does not refer to a single chemical, but instead to a range of synthetic drugs that can be sold legally in the US as long as they are not marked for human consumption – hence the misleading name.

In high doses, such drugs can cause violent and unpredictable behaviour, and terrifying hallucinations. Here are just a few of the recent crimes said to have been triggered by the dangerous drugs:

  • ‘Miami Cannibal’ Rudy Eugene was thought to have taken bath salts before stripping and pouncing on a homeless man and chewing off his face. He was shot dead. Although he did not take bath salts, it is believed he influenced a number of later attacks.
  • Brandon DeLeon, 21, allegedly tried to bite off a police officer’s hand after he was arrested for disturbing customers in a Miami fast food restaurant. He yelled at officers: ‘I’m going to eat you.’ The police report noted that he ‘growled and opened and closed his jaw like an animal.’
  • Carl Jacquneaux, 43, allegedly bit a chunk out of his neighbour’s face while on the drug before going to another neighbour’s home in Scott, Louisiana and threatening him at knife point.
  • Shane Shuyler, 40, allegedly stripped off and laid naked on a park bench in North Miami while under the influence of bath salts. He exposed himself to a three-year-old girl before chasing her and shouting lewd comments.
  • Pamela McCarthy, 35, allegedly stripped naked and began choking and punching her son, four, in the street after taking bath salts. Police used a Taser to subdue her and she went into cardiac arrest and later died.

He asked for bath salts or glass cleaner, he recalled, and Harding put a round blue-and-orange package on the glass countertop.

He claims Harding then pulled out a magazine and opened it to a page that showed him how much glass cleaner to take.

‘That’s when I just went crazy,’ said Avery. He pulled the bat out of his pants and started swinging. He smashed the five-foot-long glass counter and a couple of glass ashtrays. Then he started flinging glass pipes from shelves at  Harding.

‘Here’s a nice one,’ Avery remembers yelling as he threw the pipes. ‘Here’s another nice one.’

He chased Harding back and forth behind the counter and the pair grappled before Avery returned his bat to the car and gave Harding a lecture.

He said he told Harding: ‘You’re a sick man to sell this to these kids, knowing it’s gonna twist their minds. You’re pathetic.’

Then he asked Harding for the store phone and called the police to tell them what he had done.

After 10 to 15 minutes, police arrived and took him into custody. They charged him with two felonies – criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon – which carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

The police report says Avery threatened to kill Harding in the store. but Avery said he only intended to scare the clerk.

‘I wanted them to know why I did it,’ he said. ‘The cop asked me and I said, “So people will know. So other parents who don’t even know their kids can buy this type of drug will be aware.”

‘It sparked in my mind: It’s all over. I’ve lived my life for 30 years to do good, and tried to raise my kids to do good. But I couldn’t help it.’

He said he had thought about letting authorities handle it, but the law does not consider those products illegal.

The day after Avery’s violence, federal agents and local police raided Tebb’s and other head shops across the country. Agents seized the Watertown store’s supply of glass cleaner, among other products, Mr Harding said in an interview.

He said said the store did not sell bath salts because they’re illegal, and claimed the shop was being wrongly accused of peddling harmful drugs.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent filed an affidavit last week in Syracuse federal court to get a search warrant for the store raids. In it, he listed glass cleaners as one of the names drug sellers use to disguise ‘highly dangerous chemicals that are ingested by recreational drug users’ as a substitute for marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine.

The raids follow months of horrific crimes by people disoriented by synthetic drugs.

Another frustrated parent, a mother in Batavia, was charged with trespassing two weeks ago after she tried to buy bath salts at a head shop there, then started yelling at employees.

Neither police nor prosecutors would comment on their plans for Avery.

‘We don’t want people acting as vigilantes,’ said police Sgt. Joe Donoghue.

Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert said prosecutors would consider many factors when evaluating the case, as they do in all others.

In his blog, Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham asked, ‘What juror votes to convict the guy for busting up a head shop that was selling bath salts to his 24-year-old son?’

Avery, who earns $2,400 a month setting up double-wide and modular homes, said he was worried about having enough money to hire a lawyer.

‘I was being a father,’ he added.

Read more:

Idaho among states involved in nationwide “spice” bust

BOISE — A federal grand jury has indicted five people on charges related to synthetic drugs such as “spice” after searches at several locations in the Magic Valley and in the Portland area.

Four of the defendants are from Twin Falls, while another man is from Tigard, Oregon. They’re charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue.

Those arrested include: Allen W. Nagel, 44, of Twin Falls; 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 Wednesday in federal court in Oregon. He will be extradited 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 Friday morning.

If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Those arrests come two months after a sting that involved 13 so-called “head shops” in the Treasure Valley.

In that case, 16 people are facing federal drug paraphernalia charges.

Federal, state and local law enforcement are targeting synthetic drugs in a nationwide effort called “Operation Log Jam.”  It targeted every level of the synthetic drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, in more than 80 U.S. cities.

It focuses on the production and sale of drugs often marketed as “bath salts,” “spice,” incense or plant food – which became illegal last year, under state and federal laws.

“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 US Attorney Wendy J. Olson.

“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.”


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

Spice is a synthetic form of cannabis, which is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product that, when consumed, mimics the effects of cannabis.

The Idaho Legislature outlawed the the sale of spice last year.

US District Attorney for Idaho, Wendy J. Olson, said the operation was a win.

“My reaction was great job by law enforcement. There are a lot of committed federal, state, and local law enforcement officers out there who put in a lot of time and effort to make a coordinated approach to addressing this problem and they were successful,” said Olson.

She said it is particularly important to head off this trend because it is strongly marketed toward kids.

Teens and Drugs – K2 and Spice are Banned, but What Fix is Next?


“Drug du jour K2 is now illegal in Michigan. But that doesn’t mean parents can rest easy. What’s at the heart of teen drug use? And what can families and communities do?”


Nearly two years ago, Bill Miskokomon began noticing a dramatic shift in his 16-year-old son’s personality.

“He was not the kid I knew at all,” the Shelby Township dad recalls. “I knew it wasn’t him, and I couldn’t reach him.”

The blank stares, slipping grades and countless fights were too much to brush off as typical teen rebellion. Miskokomon, who asked that his teen son not be named, started to wonder if his son was using drugs. He administered drug tests to his son when it was time for the teen to get a driver’s license, but the results came up clean each time.

“I had a false sense of security,” he says of the negative tests – but he knew his child “still wasn’t acting himself.” As his relationship with his son further dwindled, he continued searching for the reason why.

Desperate for answers, Miskokomon searched the teenager’s bedroom and found small, silvery packages labeled “potpourri.”

A worried Miskokomon researched the substance online and discovered the potpourri he found in his son’s room was actually K2, or “Spice” – a synthetic drug made of herbs, sprayed with chemicals and manufactured to mock the effects of marijuana when smoked, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The designer drug didn’t show up on drug tests, was addictive, and – shockingly enough – was perfectly legal.

Miskokomon’s son, now 17, had been smoking K2 for about a year and a half when Miskokomon found out. The teen had been buying it at a local gas station and smoke shop.

“It was like living a nightmare,” Miskokomon says of that time. “A lot of times I’d worry if he was coming home, (or) if I was going to find him alive in the morning.”

K2 received big headlines this summer as communities from Ann Arbor to Detroit to the entire county of Macomb passed ordinances banning the sale of it and other synthetic drugs, such as “bath salts.” Within weeks, the state legislature fast-tracked a bill banning the sale of the drug statewide, and Gov. Rick Snyder officially kiboshed K2’s legal status by signing the bill into law on June 19, 2012.

But while parents and politicians rejoiced, drug treatment experts and law enforcement officials had a more tempered response. They, after all, are on the front lines of teen drug use, and were well aware that K2 was just the latest teen drug trend. Banning one type of drug – while crucial – was just one battle in a war that may never be won.

After all, approximately 50 percent of high school seniors have tried an illicit drug in their lifetimes, and approximately 20 percent of eighth-graders have done the same, according to the national “Monitoring the Future Study” released by the University of Michigan in December 2011.

The prevalence, the problem and the publicity beg the question: Is there any way to stop teens from getting high?

Why teens do drugs

As long as there have been drugs, teens have experimented with them. The risky teenage behavior has to do with brain development, says Dr. Charlene McGunn, executive director ofChippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families, an anti-drug organization based in Clinton Township.

“The brain of an adolescent is research-proven to be a work in progress,” she says, noting that MRI studies have shown “the brain is really not fully developed … until into the 20s.”

“The area of the brain that is last to develop” – known as the prefrontal cortex – “is what promotes decision making,” she says. Hence, a premature prefrontal cortex can cause teens to make bad decisions or take risks.

Of course, there are social reasons teens dabble with drugs, too.

“Kids are curious and they will try things,” says Mark Hackel, Macomb County’s executive and former county sheriff. Hackel helped Macomb become one of the first counties in southeast Michigan to ban the sale of K2 in early June.

Hackel says “it’s not one thing” that causes teens to try drugs. Rather, he thinks, “it has a lot to do with society in general.”

Hackel says teens sometimes try drugs and drink alcohol because of the examples they’re seeing on TV, among peers or even in their own homes.

“Parents provide a terrible example to kids sometimes,” Hackel says.

For example, if parents come home from a party and tell a friend on the phone about how drunk they were, or if they come home from work and drink several beers a night, they’re sending their teen the message that “it can’t be that bad,” he says.

“We unfortunately don’t set a very good example for kids in our daily lives,” Hackel says. “(The) reality is we don’t realize the impact we’re having on kids.”

When all of these influences mix with teenage curiosity, kids try drugs for the first time – or “the worst time,” as Hackel puts it, because the teen is then “always chasing that same high.”

McGunn says that a majority of alcoholics and drug users began using during adolescence.

“We don’t know the long-term implications of drug use on the developing brain,” McGunn says. “What we do know is that if we can postpone the use of alcohol until the age of 21, we will not, very likely, have an alcoholic.”

The powerful role parents play

Following the battle to get his son help and inform others about K2’s dangers, Miskokomon has formulated advice for other parents: “Get more involved.”

Parents, he says, are “so busy” with their “day-to-day lives” that sometimes, they believe “as long as my kids aren’t in trouble, they’re fine.”

“I just think as parents, we need to step back and take time with our kids,” Miskokomon says. “Pay attention to what’s going on in their lives.”

And if parents see a change in their teen’s behavior, he says, “Ask why.”

As McGunn has found through the teen focus groups she studies with her coalition, teens want their parents to be involved in their lives, and studies have shown that parental involvement is one of the biggest factors in preventing teen drug use.

“(Teens) don’t want parents to be controlling their every movement,” she says, but “they want parents to be involved. They really want parents to listen.” When parents supervise their teens’ actions and whereabouts, get involved at their schools and listen to their thoughts and feelings – even those they don’t like – teens feel protected and cared for.

“All the common-sense parenting ideas are really the most important things that can occur for kids to keep them from experimenting,” she says.

Teens are susceptible to making bad decisions based on their premature brains, so “parental presence is so very important” to help kids make the right choices, McGunn says.

What parents can do

To talk to teens about drugs, parents must be informed, McGunn stresses.

“In terms of what parents should be aware of, I think it starts with parents educating themselves on current trends,” she says.

The next step is having a conversation about drugs with kids at a young age.

“Basically by starting to ask what the teen knows, (and) what they’re observing,” parents can start the dialogue, she says. She suggests parents also do this by “expressing considerable concern about any drug – alcohol, marijuana, tobacco – really anything at all that might be used.”

And again, parents should also keep in mind the examples they’re setting for teens, Hackel says.

“I think they need to start realizing it’s our responsibility to set the tone,” he says. “We don’t realize that we’re role models and mentors to kids – not just kids in our own homes.”

McGunn suggests parents occasionally throw parties at their home that don’t include alcohol, for example, since alcohol is “the primary drug that teens are going to see their parents use.

“It sends a distinct message that you can celebrate and have a good time without alcohol,” she says.

Peers also play a large role in influencing teenagers. Therefore, McGunn says parents should get to know their teen’s friends.

“One of the ways of determining whether a teen uses is whether they’re associated with other teens who use,” she says.

Fighting the never-ending battle

Sometimes, though, parents cannot stop their teens from trying drugs.

Miskokomon says he talked to his teen about drugs, and spent a lot of time in his son’s life – from Boy Scouts and baseball to attending parent-teacher conferences.

“You can’t stay on your kids 24/7. There’s so much peer pressure out there,” he says.

But Miskokomon’s message to other parents whose kids are doing drugs is “not to give up on their kids.” Today, Miskokomon’s 17-year-old son is back home in Michigan after completing a 30-day drug rehab program in South Dakota.

“He did great,” Miskokomon says, but adds that his son still “has a long road ahead of him.”

While other teens across the nation face similar roads to recovery, new drugs will threaten to wreak havoc on teen lives.

“There’s always going to be the drug of the day,” McGunn admits. “However, that doesn’t mean that parents can’t inoculate their children so they’re less likely to use it.”

The best way to reduce teen drug use is to fight the demand, Hackel says.

“(It’s) K2 today, but what’s it going to be tomorrow? Something different,” he says. “We can’t constantly be chasing after the supply when there’s the demand. How do we get people to say, ‘We don’t want to do drugs?'”

Getting teens to avoid trying drugs is a community effort, McGunn says, and everybody in the community – from law enforcement and churches to schools and coalitions – have a place in doing so.

Yet in the end, “It’s always going to come back to good parenting,” she says, and when you bring all areas of the community together on the issue, “the head of the table is always going to be the parents.”