Agents confiscate 'Spice' -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Agents confiscate 'Spice'

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Albany Dougherty Drug Unit agents make one of the biggest seizures of synthetic marijuana in South Georgia.

They found more than one and a quarter pounds of 'Spice' in an Albany man's car.  Agents say marijuana-like substance is a growing problem.

Synthetic marijuana, or it's most common name, spice, was just made illegal in Georgia last May, and the chemicals in it were federally banned March 1st. It's a new drug trend, but Albany drug agents say they are seeing a sharp increase.

More than a pound and a quarter of spice, synthetic marijuana, was seized February 1st, when drug agents found it in 27-year-old Jasen Whitaker's car during a traffic stop. It had been mailed to him from California.

 "Officers discovered the box, with an out of state label on it. Opened it up, and found this. They picked up on the odor," said ADDU Commander Major Bill Berry.

Spice is an herb or incense that is coated most commonly with these five chemicals. The D.E.A. March 1st used an emergency order to make these chemicals controlled substances nationwide because of the growing popularity of spice, and what they call it's threat to public safety.

ADDU has five confirmed cases of spice so far, and is waiting on results of five more crime lab tests.

"It's a trend. It's really catching on as you can see. This was not for personal consumption. This is something he was fixing to bag up and re-sell," Berry said.

Drug agents are hampered by the fact that, because spice is so new, there is no field test to identify it. Law enforcement has to send it to a crime lab for analysis, which can take weeks.

"So we are having to deal with it in a slow manner, because we have no way of verifying what it is until we get the crime lab to do it. And they are swamped," Berry said. "It's here, and it's here big time."

And drug agents say they are seeing this new illegal drug trend increasing quickly in South Georgia.

Berry said Drug agents say this bust will not be their last, and probably not their largest for long.

Georgia was one of only 16 states that had declared spice illegal, before the DEA's action a couple of days ago. Now drug agents say that will help them legally control it.

The DEA says Emergency room physicians have seen serious side effects in people who have smoked spice including convulsions,  dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, and vomiting.


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