Feds Seize Drugs in LA as Part of National Investigation

Synthetic drugs, commonly known as bath salts, K2, or spice, are responsible for dozens of deaths and over 150 people have been arrested following a 15-month federal investigation into the people who manufacture and distribute these deadly drugs.

Boxes filled with chemicals made in China were inspected by federal agents at a warehouse in Hawthorne.

Customs and Border protection agents have been targeting suspious packages like these for weeks.

Drug enforcement agents say these chemicals are used to make spice and bath salts, deadly synthetic drugs, that are distributed around the country and sold at smoke shops.

"This is stuff that is only manufactured to get people high," said Rusty Payne, a DEA spokesman.

Payne said the colorful packaging and names such as "Scooby Snacks, Plur, and Kush" are designed to appeal to kids.

Poison control centers are seeing a huge spike in calls related to synthetic drugs.

Last year Connor Reid Eckhardt of Newport Beach died after taking just one hit of Spice.

This week NBC4 was given exclusive access to "Operation Synergy," federal agents stopping packages that were headed to stores around the country.

DEA agents confiscated these boxes at a storage facility near LAX before they possibly got into young hands or onto store shelves.

"If you are a convenience store operator, and you think that just because you sell something that says not for human consumption on it and something bad happens to that user that you are off the hook, think again," Payne said.

The feds seized more than $15 million in the sting. The DEA said a major concern is where the profits from these drugs may have been going.

"Their money flow is going to conflict countries like Yeman, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan," Payne said.

Those arrested, spanning the greater LA area from Huntington Beach to Glendale, face charges of manufacturing synthetic drugs.

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