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Busted Spice operation may be part of nationwide drug ring

Busted Spice operation may be part of nationwide drug ring


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St. George — Police recovered more than $1 million worth of Spice and bath salts from a St. George warehouse earlier this week. Now investigators say the southern Utah operation could be a big part of a nationwide supply chain.

"This distribution center that was here in southern Utah was supplying Spice and bath salts throughout the U.S.," said Lt. David Moss, Commander of the Washington County Area Drug and Gang Task Force.

"That's just what they call it," Moss continued. "Spice is not spice you put on your food, and bath salts (are) not something you put in your bath."

They're really illegal drugs. Spice has a similar effect on the body as marijuana, Moss said, and bath salts act a lot like methamphetamine.

The warehouse was full the drug, made and distributed from inside. This week, police made five arrests on drug charges and took evidence from smoke shops in Washington and St. George.

KSL News left messages with the owners of those shops to get their side of the story, but they did not return our calls.

A worker at the Earrings and More smoke shop claims everything police took was legal.

"The people we arrested were the ones that were manufacturing and distributing, and are the ones that were supplying it to some of these businesses," Moss said.

Both drugs have become a big problem in southern Utah, Moss said, but part of the reason might be because the State Legislature made the drugs illegal about a year ago.

"It kind of went away, and thin it came right back, and it came back with even more force," Moss said.

He said the drugs are used by people in all demographics, but it is an easy-to-make, cheap drug a lot of teens are using.

"If it's something the parents don't know what it is, they should be suspect of it," Moss said. "And if the kids say it's OK and it's legal, still be suspect."

The case is still being investigated, and more arrests could be coming.

"I think we made a good impact on the community here," Moss said, "and we've made it safe for the time being. But we need to stay on it."

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Alex Cabrero

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