Inland Empire News

Crackdown on 'Bath Salts,' 'Spice' sales in IE

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A crackdown in the Inland Empire on stores selling synthetic drugs: "Bath Salts" and "Spice," despite being illegal for stores to sell them, have become drugs of choice for many young people. Authorities delivered a strong warning to shop owners Wednesday.

It was an operation happening all across San Bernardino County: sheriff's deputies walking into smoke shops -- not to make arrests, but to give warnings.

While the packaging may look innocent enough, deputies say people are actually using these products as drugs.

"This is a problem that's plaguing our kids, and we're taking some action against it," said Deputy Lolita Harper.

Sheriff's personnel talked with the owner of one smoke shop in Highland about the products he's been selling.

While the labeling suggests that it's incense, police say kids actually use it as a drug. It's known on the street as "Spice."

Deputies told store owners it's a misdemeanor to sell these products, but they could turn them over to authorities on Wednesday, no questions asked, and not face any punishment.

He says he knows why kids buy these items.

"It would be foolish to think they take this to burn it in their house for the smell of it," he said.

But up until Wednesday he's sold it anyway.

"This is the business. As long as we are not banned from selling something, we have to make money to pay our bills," said the owner.

However, he says after Wednesday's visit from the cops, he's changing his policy.

"We're not selling it," he said.

Countywide, the sheriff's department visited 21 locations, confiscating more than 740 grams of Spice.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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