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Synthetic drugs seized in Santa Clarita undercover drug sting

September 6, 2012 |  1:56 pm

Synthetic drugs seized in Santa Clarita

An undercover operation aimed at ensuring that Santa Clarita businesses are complying with laws regarding the sale of illegal substances led to the arrest this week of a retailer on charges that he sold synthetic drugs known as "bath salts" and "spice," authorities said.

Information obtained by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station indicated that some local businesses might be selling the illegal substances to children and adults, authorities said in a statement. So the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station Juvenile Intervention Team joined forces with deputies from the station’s Crime Prevention Unit and launched a sting Wednesday.

The statement explained that spice, also known as synthetic cannabis, “is a psychoactive designer drug made from natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals.”  When consumed, it can mimic the effects of other illegal drugs, authorities said. The term “bath salt” represents a family of designer drugs that contain chemicals that can provide intoxication similar to amphetamine and cocaine, officials said. While the white crystals resemble legal bathing products, such as Epsom salts, the products are not chemically related, officials said.

Of the four businesses targeted in Wednesday’s compliance check, one retailer was caught selling the illegal products, authorities said. Officials seized the banned items and arrested the retailer, who was released on the spot and on a notice to appear when summoned to court. Authorities declined to identify the retailer.

Officials said selling, dispensing, distributing, offering to sell, or possessing “synthetic cannabinoid compound” or “synthetic cannabinoid derivative” in order to sell them, is a misdemeanor punishable by jail time. Additional operations to potentially nab sellers of illegal drugs were planned for the coming months in the Santa Clarita Valley, authorities said.  

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-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Photo: Sample of the illegal substances seized at a local retailer during Wednesday's undercover operation in Santa Clarita. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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