WORTHINGTON, Ohio ? This week in close to 100 cities, federal agents and local police invaded dozens of stores in search of illegal synthetic drugs, such as Spice and K2, USA Today reports. The crackdown is the first since the federal government banned synthetic drugs on July 9. The substances, often labeled bath salts or herbal incense, provide similar highs as LSD, marijuana and cocaine, and had been sold in convenience stores and smoke shops, as well as online.
Prior to the federal ban, numerous states enacted their own bans against the substances. NACS notified its 148,000 member stores to remove the products from their stores when the federal ban took effect, said Jeff Lenard, NACS spokesman.
Mustafa Jamal, who owns a Richmond, Va., Sunoco gas station and convenience store, said he complied immediately with the ban. ?The day it was banned, the entire thing was thrown out of the building,? said Jamal.
Other stores ignored the warning. In Columbus, Ohio, police found the banned substances at three shops and a convenience store. Also targeted were retailers in New York and Tampa, and 12 convenience stores and gas station close to Pittsburgh.
In Duluth, Minn., federal agents raided Last Place on Earth, a store suspected of selling the drugs. ?For the last 16 months, problems with synthetic drugs and the behaviors around the Last Place on Earth downtown has been a major concern for our citizens, business community and the police department,? said the Duluth Police in a written statement.