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Five Idahoans indicted in spice bust, authorities say major national player has been taken out

Five people from Boise and Meridian have been indicted on federal charges for smuggling, money laundering, and selling “spice,” a synthetic marijuana product, and authorities say they were operating across the nation. “This investigation has taken out a major player in the synthetic drug industry who was operating coast to coast,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “Criminal drug organizations prey on our youth to line their pockets with millions of dollars in drug proceeds. This emerging industry poses a significant threat to our communities and regardless of how they are marketed, we will continue with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue them.”

Click below for a full news release from U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson; the indictment by a federal grand jury in Boise was unsealed yesterday. The indictments are the result of a joint operation by an array of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. “Although we don't yet know the full toll that these substances that mimic cannabis have taken on users, we do know that emergency room workers, parents and law enforcement officers have terrifying stories of medically dangerous and sometimes deadly reactions,” Olson said. “I commend all of the agencies and prosecutors who spent countless hours bringing the investigation to this point.”

Big drug raids target ‘spice’ sellers, marijuana growers in cornfield

Idaho has seen two major drug raids in the last 24 hours, as federal authorities raided 11 locations in Twin Falls County in a crackdown on selling “spice,” or synthetic marijuana; and Idaho State Police detectives, along with aerial support, raided 12 marijuana grow sites in a Gooding County cornfield, pulling 3,684 marijuana plants that ISP said have an estimated street value of more than $7 million.

The ISP received an anonymous tip last night, prompting the cornfield raid; they're asking anyone with information to call  a tip hotline at (800) 524-7277.

The spice raids, which were preceded by five indictments for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, were part of a nationwide spice crackdown and targeted businesses including a Twin Falls auto sales lot, a skate shop, a tattoo and body piercing shop and more. The defendants, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison. Click below for a full announcement from Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson; the raid is part of a national push that earlier targeted 13 head shops in the Treasure Valley, in which nine were found to be openly selling spice.

Said Olson, “This week's law enforcement actions should send a strong message that if you're selling spice under any name or packaging you need to stop.”

Federal agents raid headshops across Treasure Valley, find Spice sales, charge owners

After a multi-year investigation, federal agents yesterday raided more than a dozen head shops across the Treasure Valley, and arrested the owners and operators on charges including conspiracy to sell and offering to sell drug paraphernalia; nine of the 13 were found to be openly selling “Spice,” or synthetic marijuana, which Idaho lawmakers outlawed last year. U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson said, “The United State's Attorney's Office and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners will attack drug trafficking on all fronts.”

Sixteen people have been indicted, and at least 14 of them arrested. Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson said, “This investigation and the execution of these search warrants should send a strong message that if you're selling Spice under any name or packaging, you need to stop.” Matthew Barnes, federal Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in chage, said, “Criminal organizations that masquerade as legitimate storefronts to sell drug paraphernalia to our children will not be tolerated.” You can read the full announcement here from the U.S. Attorney's office about “Operation Headshop - Not for Human Consumption.”

Pharmacy board bans synthetic pot

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state pharmacy board has voted to adopt a rule that would ban the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana.

The board's emergency rule would mirror new Federal Drug Enforcement Administration rules banning five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana. The federal ban went into effect Dec. 24 and will last at least a year while officials consider a permanent ban. The state rule won't go into effect until next month.

Synthetic marijuana is sold in smoke shops as incense but health officials say it is an intoxicant when burned and inhaled. It is sold under names like K-2, Spice and Black Mamba.

State officials say a state rule is a more effective tool for law enforcement than the federal ban.

Driver high on fake pot when he hit 3 people

King County prosecutors filed vehicular assault charges Tuesday against a driver who struck three pedestrians outside Pike Place Market.

Filing the charges, prosecutors claim Travis Clinton Lipski was high on Thursday morning when he drove a Subaru through a red light near the market and struck three people.

According to charging documents, Lipski, 39, has twice been convicted of driving under the influence. The Seattle resident is alleged to have admitted to smoking an herbal substance similar in its effects to marijuana shortly before the crashes. Read more.  LEVI PULKKINEN SEATTLEPI.COM

In Spokane several students at a local high school were sickened by Spice— a substance that give a marijuana-like high. Do you think the DEA should ban these substances?


Spice: Banned In Idaho, But …

Item: Banned in Idaho, Spice trade good in Spokane/McKay Allen, KXLY

More Info: While Governor Butch Otter signed an order banning “Spice” sales in Idaho Friday, the incense, which some smoke to get high, remains legal in Washington, where local stores say business is still very good. Herbal Discoveries opened up on North Monroe on Wednesday and one of the items the sell is spice. Store owner Venita Trujillo has no concerns about selling it whatsoever.

Question: Should Idaho have banned the sale of “Spice”?

Otter says he’ll sign ‘Spice’ ban Friday

Gov. Butch Otter says on Friday he’ll sign a temporary rule proposed by the state Board of Pharmacy to add the chemicals used in “Spice,” a form of synthetic marijuana, to the state’s controlled substances list. The state Legislature then will consider making that move permanent when it convenes for its regular session in January. Click below to read Otter’s full announcement.