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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The FHCC is supported in part by the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation.