Emergency spice law catches businesses off guard

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 7:50 PM

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Poll: Is it a good idea to go after businesses that sell "a known public health threat" like bath salts and other synthetic drugs?

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Spice, K2, Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky. All synthetic drugs considered just as dangerous as cocaine, meth and marijuana. But is the new law catching some business owners off guard?

George Tacker is the attorney for Pronto Mart in Glendale.

"He wasn't trying to hide it. Anybody walking in could see it," said Tacker.

When IRS agents walked into the convenience store a few weeks ago, they stumbled upon not one but two labs manufacturing massive amounts of spice.

"In the back here, they had a room where they assembled it," Tacker remarked.

Inside those back rooms, police discovered "thousands of bottles of packaged spice bottles" and "open bins of a green leafy substance.. chopped up and shredded."

The search warrant reveals officers confiscated vials labeled everything from sweeth touch, triple x incense blend and sprinkelzzz.

"As of right now it's still legal. It can be legally imported," Tacker claimed.

But Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says, "That's the point that needs to be made, it's not legal anymore."

On April 3, the Governor signed House Bill 2327 as an emergency measure which instantly made manufacturing and selling synthetic versions of marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine illegal.

"So if there is a convenient mart or smoke shop in your community that is still selling stuff like then you should notify local law enforcement and we now have the tools available to address it," Montgomery stated.

Two weeks after the law took effect, Glendale police used that tool taking the owner of Pronto Mart, Abrahim Sayegit, into custody.

The search warrant shows Sayegit was questioned for manufacturing and selling spice to his customers, to other stores, and even online. Sayegit's attorney claims the new law is catching everyone off guard.

"People are objecting to these laws, people are fighting these laws because these laws appear to be vague," Tacker explained.

Todd Griffith, a consultant for the DPS crime lab, says, "Our job is to analyze the evidence."  

Vague or not, the product seized during the raid on Pronto Mart is now here, undergoing testing at the DPS crime lab.

"People have died from these drugs, there have been serious cardiac events, some of these drugs are 700, 800 times more potent than marijuana and they have very, very serious effects," Griffith explained.

"If you continue to possess and try to sell these products, law enforcement will find out, we have the means to be able to test it and verify that you're in possession of banned substances and then we will prosecute and hold people accountable," Montgomery said.

Even though the attorney insists nothing illegal took place, they have stopped selling spice.

3TV's Political Editor Dennis Welch asked, "Why not sell it if it's totally legal?"

Tacker responded, "We don't want to run any more risks. My client cooperated fully. He doesn't want to upset law enforcement and he wants to wait until they come back and after they analyze it and if they say opps, we made a boo-boo, then he'll go back to selling it."

If test results confirm criminal conduct has occurred, this will be the first case in Arizona under the new law.  


 

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