Created: 03/20/2014 5:34 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Two Albuquerque tobacco merchants spent time behind bars Thursday after a smoke shop raid by city police and federal agents. It was a “Spice Raid” – synthetic marijuana is what they were looking for and they say they found it at two shops in the city’s Southeast Heights.
DEA agents arrested one man who is believed to be the owner of both shops, and another man who is an employee. The shops are Moe & Curly’s Smoke Shop at Louisiana and Central and the San Pedro Smoke Shop at San Pedro and Kathryn. Police and DEA agents sieved products at both stores. There are federal, state and local laws against selling synthetic dope.
“We’ve interviewed many people who have tried it who are addicts, or addicts of other drugs,” said DEA group supervisor Eduardo Chavez. “ It’s very interesting to have a heroin addict say that they wouldn’t touch Spice because it’s too dangerous.”
“I think they’re wrong, man,” said smoke shop customer Eric Silva, who was watching the raid at the San Pedro location. “This shop has been here for awhile and I always come over here and they’re always doing the legit stuff, you know what I mean? They only sell what they’re supposed to – they don’t sell anything like Spice.”
“The way it affects one person may be completely different from another,” Chavez said. “Those effects have contributed to an exponential increase in poison control hotline calls, emergency room visits, and I’m sure serious injury and death.”
The trouble with raids like this is that synthetic dope manufacturers keep changing the chemical ingredients to try to side-step the law. Will today’s action result in the building of a solid criminal case? We’ll follow it and stay on top of it. Under the federal law the penalty could be up to 20 years in prison.