Federal agents are serving hundreds of warrants in dozens of cities as part of a continued crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Agents served search and arrest warrants on homes, warehouses, and smoke shops in at least 25 states this morning, a DEA spokesman said. The largest single operation is a state-wide effort in Alabama. Agents also are serving warrants in Florida and New Mexico, among other states.
The crackdown involves 33 DEA cases, and seven Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations. The DEA has been cracking down on synthetic drugs, including so-called bath salts, spice, and Molly, since the drugs first gained widespread popularity years ago. In late 2010, the agency responsible for enforcing federal drug laws moved to ban five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana blends, including K2, Spice, and Blaze. An interesting aside involves the money trail: Investigators have tracked hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds being sent to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, says a rep for the DEA Special Operations Division. "The money is going there, where it stops we don't know," he says.