DEA Carries Out Raids Nationwide, Including Five Arizona Cities, for Making and Selling Chemicals Similar to Illegal Drugs

Categories: Drug War
Bath salts are even making the feds go nuts.
The federal government announced another victory in its war on drugs, as federal authorities made raids in 109 cities nationwide -- including five Arizona cities -- to take down an industry that sells chemicals "similar" to illegal drugs.

Yes, the word "similar" comes straight from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The substances involved are the synthetic chemicals known as "bath salts" and "spice," which don't have consistent formulas. When certain chemicals are banned, the producers usually change up the formula ever so slightly to keep it legal.

The DEA readily admits in a statement that "many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Operation Log Jam are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act."

However, more than 90 people were arrested and more than 5 million packets of these chemicals were seized, along with $36 million in cash.

What gives? Well, thanks to President Nixon and friends, the Controlled Substances Act contains a section called the Federal Analog Act, in which the feds can treat any chemical that's "substantially similar" to an illegal drug as if it actually were that drug.

It does not apply to drugs that are "not intended for human consumption." If you've ever seen a package of "spice" or "bath salts," it likely says just that -- it's not intended for human consumption -- right on the label.

Not only that, but the DEA itself says in its statement that "[t]hese products . . . have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process."

Courts also have ruled that the "substantially similar" part of the law isn't exactly perfect, either, although it has worked in the feds' favor before.

A DEA spokeswoman did not immediately return New Times' call for comment.

South Florida lawyer Thomas Wright -- who specializes in "spice"-related cases  -- already has told our sister paper in Broward County, Florida, that he has a few questions about what's going on with the DEA's raids and says it seems the agency's "going a little backwards on us."

"The DEA is taking the position that these guys are drug dealers," Wright tells New Times Broward-Palm Beach. "I've never heard of guys establishing corporations for cocaine. These guys are in plain sight and sell their stuff to gas stations and corner stores. Nobody goes to Exxon for an eight-ball."

Wright's described to us some of the intricacies in the drug laws, which you can read in this post.

As for what's going on in Arizona, we're still trying to get the details from the DEA. the Arizona Republic is reporting that 17 search warrants were served in the Phoenix area in relation to the DEA's operation.

For now, the feds are announcing some sort of major victory.

"Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic-drug industry. The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution, and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits," Immigration and Customs Enforcement higher-up James Chaparro says in a statement. "ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees."

Stay tuned for updates.

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An appeal to all Prohibitionists:


Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high - no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put Narcs on every single corner, at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future.  


Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our once so proud & free nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies?  


Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? 


Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem. 


Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!



It would appear that the DEA could better spend it's time investigating real drugs.  Perhaps they like SOFT" targets that don't require racial profiling.


Drugs need to be taken off our streets just as much as illegal aliens must be.


guess it's due to that law that it makes it illegal for Americans to grow a native cactus to Texas and perhaps a small area of Arizona illegal because it contains mescalin, but other cacti that contain this chemical in them are legal? I am of course talking about Peyote (or) as people in the cactus growing community know by its botanical name, Lophophora williamsii.



PS Props to you Hendley for yet again another good story... Keep up to excellent work, boyo.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

One of the U$A's LARGEST manufacturers and distributors of "spice" aka "herbal incense"  -- Wicked X -- is located in Phoenix Arizona.


BTW -- that Florida Lawyer sounds about as ethical and professional as Saul Goodman.


Better Call Saul !!


The DEA needs to do something to shore up their core mission.  As things stand if pot went legal there would be pink slips galore. Better make up some new laws. That's it, prohibition has worked so well so far let's have more of the same! I wonder how many people have asked themselves whether we might have been better of if pharmaceutical grade amphetamines still circulated widely like they did before the Controlled Substances Act? These synthetic analogs are, after all, just a poor substitute for those old-fashioned diet pills that were at least pure and evenly dosed.


 @SeedyWard and strongly addictive. Watch Requiem for a Dream and you will see what I mean.


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