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UPDATE: 2 SCV retailers arrested in illegal drug sales sweep

‘Spice,’ ‘bath salts’ are target of searches

Posted: July 9, 2014 2:05 p.m.
Updated: July 9, 2014 7:06 p.m.
Photo courtesy the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. Photo courtesy the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
Photo courtesy the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Deputies carried out a sweep of four local tobacco stores this week, looking for sales of synthetic marijuana compounds commonly called “bath salts” or “spice,” a Santa Claita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy said Wednesday.

Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Juvenile Intervention Team conducted the sweep Tuesday at four stores to ensure that Santa Clarita businesses are complying with laws regarding illegal substances, Deputy Josh Dubin said.

Retailers at two of the four stores were arrested when they were caught allegedly selling “spice” products, Dubin said. The products were also seized.

“These items are of particular concern to us,” Dubin said about the illegal pot-like compounds, “especially if we’re receiving information that they’re ending up in the hands of people under (age) 18.”

The sweep was prompted by tips that some local tobacco shops may be selling “bath salts” and “spice” to children and adults. Authorities would not reveal the location of the four stores.

California Health and Safety Code Section 11357.5 makes it illegal for any person to sell, dispense, distribute, offer to sell or possess for sale any synthetic cannabinoid compound or any synthetic cannabinoid derivative.

This misdemeanor crime can be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail, a substantial fine or both.

“Spice,” also known inaccurately as synthetic cannabis, is a psychoactive designer drug made from natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, can mimic the effects of other illegal drugs.

The term “bath salt” is a name for a family of designer drugs that can have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine.

The white crystals resemble legal bathing products, but chemically the two have no relation.

Local narcotics detectives first noticed “bath salts” and “spice” appearing in the Santa Clarita Valley three years ago.

In an August 2012 interview with The Signal, Detective Scott Schulze said, “Within the last six months, we’ve just started seeing it in the north part of the county and the San Fernando Valley.”

“I wouldn’t call ‘bath salts’ prevalent at this point, but it’s definitely emerging,” he said at the time.

The synthetic drugs, which officials said are becoming popular among “club kids,” are generally made of a complex series of chemical compounds. Spice looks like its namesake but contains hallucinogens that can have varying effects when smoked.

The effects of bath salts range from mild hallucinations to “complete psychosis,” according to Schulze.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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