Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that authorities in Ashtabula and Seneca counties executed search warrants at area businesses today as part of an ongoing effort to fight the illegal sale of synthetic drugs.
In Ashtabula, agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) assisted officers with the TAG Law Enforcement Task Force, Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office, and Ashtabula Police Department in serving a warrant at Blue Dragon Leather, a business inside the Ashtabula Towne Square Mall.
Authorities arrested the store's owner and an employee after gathering evidence that they had sold synthetic cannabinoids, also known as synthetic marijuana or herbal incense. The drugs, packaged as potpourri, were sold under the names "Scooby Snax," "Caution," and "Down2Earth."
"This case shows just how easy it is for our children to get their hands on these deadly drugs," said Attorney General DeWine. "Teenagers spend a lot of time at the mall, and this is what they could be buying."
Local authorities began investigating Blue Dragon Leather after receiving several complaints from the community.
"Parents should be extremely aware of these substances, not only being sold in local stores but also on the Internet," said TAG Law Enforcement Task Force Supervisor Lt. Jeff Orr. "The words 'Not for Human Consumption' being clearly marked on most packets is not a deterrent to our kids, who are risking their lives every time they use it."
In addition, the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section filed a civil lawsuit against those at Blue Dragon Leather, alleging that the defendants engaged in unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable acts by selling the illegal drugs as legal products. A nuisance abatement was also filed in an effort to close the business for one year.
In Seneca County, BCI agents assisted the county's METRICH Drug Task Force and Ohio Department of Taxation in serving an unrelated search warrant at Zig Stag in Tiffin. Investigators there found evidence of the sale of synthetic cannabinoids under the names "Shpark in the Dark," "Lotto," and "Atomic."
Today's warrants were served as part of an intensified effort by local and state law enforcement agencies to fight the sale of synthetic drugs. In November, Attorney General DeWine sent a warning letter to retailers advising them of the risks of continuing to sell synthetic substances. Earlier this month, BCI assisted law enforcement in Montgomery, Clark, and Guernsey counties in serving five similar search warrants.