The DEA recently announced the arrests of more than 225 individuals following what it called the “largest ever” synthetic drug sweep. This drug sweep, according to the DEA, included no less than 5 countries, 35 states, and 49 cities, from Barbados and Canada to Panama, Australia and the United States. There are currently an additional 150 arrest warrants executed and more than 375 search warrants issued as a result of the DEA operation.
The DEA targeted its efforts on trafficking organizations engaged in designer synthetic drugs which, according to the agency, have been operating “without regarding for the law or public safety.”
The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs
Designer synthetic drugs have seen a dramatic spike in use as teenagers and young adults often see them as relatively harmless. However, these drugs, which often include herbal incense and bath salts, have serious consequences and are directly responsible for a growing number of overdoses and deaths.
The DEA reports that the young people using these synthetic drugs have suffered from everything from hallucinations and seizures to organ damage and, in some cases, death. The DEA refers to these designer drugs as “destructive, dangerous and…destroying lives.”
Since the investigation has begun, more than $15 million in cash and assets have been seized and more than 1,200 pounds of drugs have been seized in a three-day period alone.
A number of arrests came out of both Louisiana and South Carolina. The New Orleans DEA division alone executed 10 search warrants and upwards of $600,000 in cash. The DEA seized $1.4 million from a South Carolina couple alone.
The DEA reports that millions of dollars in profits from the sale of designer drugs have ended up in Middle Eastern countries.