Authorities Confiscated Spice, ‘Bath Salts’ Assorted Paraphernalia and Weapons from Maple Valley Tobacco Shop

The King County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that detectives seized more than one-and-a-half pounds of ‘spice,’ a small amount of ‘bath salts’ and numerous other drug paraphernalia as well as illegal weapons from a Maple Valley tobacco store.

The search of Tobacco Depot on the 26900 block of Maple Valley/Black Diamond Road on July 12 was the culmination of an eight-month long investigation into complaints of unlawful activity at the store, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.

The driver for the investigation was the reported sale of ‘spice’ at the location. ‘Spice’ is a synthetic marijuana product that consists of green vegetation that resembles marijuana which is then coated in chemicals that mimic the euphoric effects of marijuana when it is smoked. The product is often marketed as ‘potpourri,’ said the Sheriff’s Office.

In December of 2011, the active chemicals in ‘spice’ were categorized as Schedule I controlled substances. According to the DEA, Schedule I substances “have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”

Other substances in this category include heroine, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ‘ecstacy.’

During the investigation detectives also discovered that the owner of the business was selling illegal weapons such as brass knuckles, butterfly knives and nun-chucks.

In addition to selling illegal weapons the suspect was also selling glass “crack pipes” and glass pipes and bongs commonly used to smoke marijuana.  These pipes are used for the ingestion of crack cocaine or methamphetamine.

Maple Valley Municipal Code (MVMC 9.05.240) makes it illegal to sell drug paraphernalia unless proper signage is posted indicating that such items are for sale in the business, and that persons under the age of 18 are not allowed inside unless accompanied by a parent.  These legible signs did not exist at the business.

During the service of the warrant, detectives found hundreds of crack pipes, thousands of 1”x1” baggies (commonly used to package drugs for sale), nitrous oxide containers (over 1300 individual doses) and small inhalers used to ingest nitrous oxide (commonly called “whippits”).

Detectives also confiscated a number of illegal weapons including 10 sets of nun-chucks, 20 sets of metal knuckles, 1 set of electrified metal knuckles, and 3 butterfly knives.

On the Plateau, the Foothills Healthy Community Coalition (FHCC) is currently working collaboratively with area agencies to develop a community action plan and to initiate a preventative substance use program. Many of the substances seized during this search are among what experts say are prevalent in this area. For more information on the FHCC, you can contact Heather Hogan, the youth substance abuse prevention specialist at 360-802-3206 or The FHCC is supported in part by the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation.

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.



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.

$20,000 worth of spice confiscated in apartment drug bust


Huntsville Police made a large spice bust at an apartment on Thursday night.

Officers served a search warrant at the Monte Sano Terrace Apartments, at Apt. 411.

A long-term investigation led them to this location to make an arrest. There, they found several boxes of spice worth $20,000. Police said this controlled substance analog has a hallucinogenic effect similar to LSD.

Mohmed Michael Mertinez-Shoucair was arrested during the bust and charged with trafficking a controlled substance.

Mertinez-Shoucair was arrested and charged with drug trafficking in June during a spice bust at the Lincoln Mini-Mart, on Washington Street, which was busted twice before.

He was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance analog for this bust. His bond was set at $250,000.00.

Other charges expected to follow on other individuals involved.

Pinellas sheriff to stores: Stop selling K2, other synthetic drugs



Possession or sale of products such as K2 can carry third-degree felony charges.

Again Largo Florida cracking down, Or Trying To.

They come packaged as herbal incense, branded as K2 and Spice.

But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri began reminding store owners Monday these products are hardly potpourri but rather a dangerous, synthetic form of pot.

“There isn’t anybody in their right mind who knows they’re looking at this product and thinks some 16-year-old kid is going to buy this for $6 at a gas station and taking it home to make their room smell better. They’re not,” Gualtieri said. “They’re smoking it, and it’s causing serious health issues and causing kids to die.”

Deputies plan to call on retailers to comply with laws that went into effect Monday that prohibit the sale of the products, which are classified as controlled substances.

“We want the convenience store owners, the gas station owners in Pinellas County to show responsibility in this issue and voluntarily stop,” Gualtieri said. “It’s not just about making a buck. It’s about doing the right thing.”

Under the new Florida law, 92 chemicals have been added to a list of previously banned synthetic marijuana substances. The synthetic products have been banned before, but manufacturers skirt laws by changing the mixtures.

“The Legislature bans the substances, so they alter the compound, alter it slightly to take it outside of what’s banned, then the Legislature bans it again and they alter the compound,” the sheriff said. “This really needs to stop.”

Notices will be passed out to stores warning of the drugs’ dangers, Gualtieri said.

Authorities have said the products can cause side effects that range from increased aggression to hallucinations.

“We know from the phone calls, the problems with emergency room visits, we know from the phone calls from parents and friends and everyone out there, that this product is extremely dangerous,” Sgt. Dan Zsido said. “Basically, you’re playing Russian roulette with your health and your life.”

Zsido, a member of the sheriff’s office’s Narcotics Division, said the effect of the synthetic drug is “10 times stronger than marijuana.” Among the reactions are elevated blood pressure and heart rate, seizures and paranoia.

Possession or sale of these substances can carry third-degree felony charges.