Governor Bentley addresses Wednesday’s DEA raid

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Before Alabama passed a comprehensive ban on synthetic drugs like Spice, it was openly being sold on convenience store shelves.

Law enforcement agents say the raids Wednesday show it’s still a huge cash business and a huge problem in Alabama.

The statewide ban on drugs like Spice passed the Alabama legislature in 2011. The ban was intended to be broad and flexible to prevent manufacturers from slightly changing the chemical makeup of the drug to skirt existing laws.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says two Senate bills strengthened Alabama’s synthetic drug laws when they passed in the recent legislative session.

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls says the penalties for a conviction of trafficking synthetic drugs can include life in prison.

“We are actually ahead of the rest of the county in designed legislation that will help rid our citizens of these types of dangerous drugs,” Bentley said.

“Thirty-five state, federal and local agencies participated today,” said Spencer Collier, the director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

Bentley calls the operation the largest collaboration ever between federal, state and local law enforcement targeting synthetic drug distributors.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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