81ºF

2,500 packages of synthetic marijuana confiscated

photo

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office on Friday completed a week-long investigation targeting local retailers who sell synthetic marijuana, commonly known by the street name of K2.

Deputies said the items are frequently marketed as potpourri or incense, but are truly a powerful stimulant drug that offers an alternative to traditional illegal drugs and can cause devastating affects among users and society.

The operation was launched in response to a July 1 change in Florida law that makes the sale of the synthetic drugs illegal, deputies said.

They said the investigation began by identifying the retailers selling synthetic marijuana and ended with deputies taking possession of all synthetic marijuana in the retailers' inventory.

Investigators said this first step in enforcement was intended to educate retailers about the changes in the law and to remove the now-illegal items from the shelves. After being educated by deputies on the new law, most of the retailers in violation were very cooperative and immediately agreed to turn their stock over to the Sheriff's Office for destruction, deputies said.

A few did initially deny they sold the substance in question, deputies said. However, once confronted with evidence to the contrary that had been collected by undercover detectives they also agreed to relinquish their stock for destruction, deputies said.

More than 2,500 packages of synthetic marijuana were confiscated. No criminal charges were filed during this enforcement wave, but retailers were warned that repeated violations of the revised law could result in felony charges for sale of the mind altering synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana was collected from the following stores:

Cowpen Grocery
1917 State Road 20, Hawthorne

Spirit Gas Station
1647 State Road 100, Melrose

San Mateo Discount Beverage
730 Highway 17 South, San Mateo

Bi-Lo
788 highway 17 South, Satsuma

Valero
1971 South highway 17, Lake Como

Valero
301 North Summit Street, Crescent City

Jas Food Mart
101 North 19TH Street, Palatka

One Stop Supermarket
366 Highway 17 South, East Palatka

Sunoco
167 Highway 17 South, East Palatka

Sunoco
276 Highway 17 South, East Palatka