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DEA teams up with multiple counties to raid area synthetic drug businesses

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with local authorities from Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Johnson Counties conducted raids on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in stores across the region selling synthetic drugs that contain specific ingredients that have been deemed illegal and banned under federal law.
“We had the opportunity yesterday to strike back and to get the message out there to the community that we’re not going to tolerate distribution of illegal drugs that are affecting the community and causing a lot of harm,” said DEA Group Supervisor Robert Bailess at a joint press conference held Thursday morning, March 22, 2012. “(The purpose) was to go in and seize the drugs that were being distributed in those businesses and to effectively try to stop the distribution and send a message that basically it’s not going to be tolerated.”
The investigations involved federal agents, the United States Attorney’s office, the Internal Revenue Service, DEA, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, as well as local law enforcement agencies. The raids were the result of an eight-month investigation. According to a federal law passed in 1986, anything that has the same effect as an illegal drug is against the law in the United States. “It’s all part of the big lie that this stuff is legal when it’s clearly not,” said Assistant United States Attorney Neal Smith.
Read the complete story in this week's Tomahawk.