Beware: Feds Enthusiastically Cracking Down on Synthetic Drugs

The last several years have played witnessed to a growing popularity in the use of synthetic drugs. These drugs, which are designed to mimic the chemical effects of cocaine, LSD, methamphetamines, and other hallucinogenic stimulants are sold under street names like "plant food" and "bath salts." A recent crackdown on synthetic drugs, however, may be the first of many federal initiatives designed to put an end to their brief but influential reign here in the U.S.

In late July, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement teamed up with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, and countless state and local law enforcement agencies to carry out Operation Log Jam. The initiative struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry, targeting and taking out retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers of the drugs.

The crackdown took place in 109 U.S. cities, including Tampa, Redington Beach, and St. Petersburg. The initiative resulted in the arrest of more than 90 individuals, the seizure of more than five million packets of synthetic drugs, and the acquisition of 36 million dollars in cash.

The success of the initiative provided federal officials with hope and enthusiasm about their ability to bring an end to synthetic drugs in the U.S.

James Chaparro, Director of ICE's Office of Homeland Security, said that the ICE is committed to bringing the industry to its knees. A similar sentiment was echoed by Richard Weber, Chief of IRS Criminal Investigations, who maintained that federal officials "will continue working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the highest level drug trafficking and drug money laundering organizations." A spokesperson for The U.S. Postal Inspection Service asserted that they too would continue to aggressively investigate the use of the U.S. Mail system for the distribution of illegal controlled substances and its proceeds.

While Operation Log Jam was just one federal initiative intended to oust synthetic drugs from their popular place in the drug industry, it seems apparent that it will not be the last. In the wake of the initiative's success, federal officials have been more enthusiastic than ever about investigating and prosecuting individuals for trafficking, manufacturing and possessing synthetic drugs.

If you are facing federal drug charges, the stakes may be higher than ever in this environment of heightened enforcement. Seeking the council of an experienced criminal defense attorney could be crucially important to the outcome of your case.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA NEWS: Nationwide Synthetic Drug Takedown, July 26, 2012.

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