Various smoke shops and convenience stores in the Peoria area were visited by multiple state agencies on Wednesday February 22nd. In a collaborative effort headed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, over 650 packages of synthetic drugs were seized in these busts. Madigan said that the total street value of these packages totals to over $10,000. This is the most recent activity of “Operation Smoked Out” has seen 20 retail establishments relinquish 5,700 packages from over seven southern Illinois counties.
Synthetic drugs are a new class of drugs that up until recently were legal and are often undetectable with drug tests. They are marketed as “bath salts” or “potpourri,” often including cartoon pictures of Scooby Doo or Bob Marley, making them attractive to children. Most users of these drugs are teens and young adults. The “bath salts” often have affects that impersonate cocaine or methamphetamines. The “potpourri” is smokable leaves that are sprayed with chemicals to act like marijuana.
Attorney General Madigan said that, “These operations put retailers on notice that law enforcement is focused on getting these illegal synthetic drugs out of Illinois stores. The operations also serve to alert the public that synthetic drugs are potentially deadly.” Upon seizure of these drugs, the store owners signed an agreement to not replenish their stocks. Madigan has promised to revisit these stores in an effort to keep these drugs off the streets. She cited the marked increase in calls to the poison control centers linked to synthetic marijuana shot from 2,915 in 2010 to 6,890 in 2011, while the call volume for “bath salts” climbed from 303 in 2010 to 6,072 in 2011.
Illinois state laws have tried before to remove these drugs from shops. The first laws were configured to ban only certain formulas of synthetic drugs. Drug makers circumvented these laws by designing new formulas to the same affects. In January of 2010, a new law was put in place that bans all compounds that are fundamental byproducts of previously banned chemicals.
The bill states that “whoever distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute, a synthetic drug product or a drug that is misbranded…is guilty of a class 2 felony and may be fined an amount not to exceed $100,000 and that a person convicted of a second or subsequent violation is guilty of a Class 1 felony, the fine for which shall not exceed $250,000.” Considering the consequences of these kinds of charges, please contact an experienced ChicagoDrug Crime attorney who deals with illegal drug charges.