The bust came at the Pit Stop No. 6 convenience store along Alabama Highway (Ga. 151) just across the Catoosa-Walker County line.
“We had undercover officers execute a purchase of approximately 50 grams of synthetic marijuana this morning just after 11:30 a.m.,” said Pat Doyle, commander of the Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force. “We’re working to seize all the evidence in the case at this time and then we will send that evidence to the crime lab for testing to determine if the synthetic marijuana contains any of the banned substances that qualify as a Schedule I drug.”
All in all, Doyle says that approximately 100 packets of synthetic marijuana were confiscated during the bust, with each packet containing anywhere from three to five grams.
“Each packet costs approximately five to eight dollars, but then they’ll charge anywhere from $20 to $40 for it,” Doyle said. “Our guys made a $300 purchase this morning during the undercover operation, and what we’ve seized today has an approximate value of three to four thousand dollars on the street.”
Doyle said the male and female running the store were not arrested during the incident because the seized property still has to be checked at the crime lab before charges can be filed.
“It will all have to be tested at the lab, but if it comes back positive, then both parties would then be charged with felony distribution of a Schedule I drug,” he said. “Results in this particular case could take anywhere from four to six weeks.”
Doyle said transactions and cases such as this one aren’t uncommon, but that they do sometimes get tricky with people always trying to alter ingredients in order to clear new state laws.
“It (synthetic marijuna) used to not be illegal, it was considered a novelty item, and it wasn’t against that law,” Doyle said. “Since 2009 laws have come into place, but we’re having to constantly update the banned substances lists. … People try to get around the law by changing up the recipe (for making synthetic marijuana).”
Officers shut down the store while they were collecting evidence from inside and from the vehicles of the suspects.
“We’ve seized the evidence from the store, so now we will just have to wait and see whether or not it tests positive for the banned substances,” Doyle said.
Doyle said the store is also being looked at in a possible gambling operation, but stated that that case too is still under investigation.