Ventura County – According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. J. Hendren, the Ventura County Narcotics Task Force began an investigation in September 2014 into the traffic of “spice” throughout their jurisdiction which, on March 24th, resulted in the arrests of four suspects who were arrested pursuant to warrant searches pointing to their active involvement in the sale and possession of prescription drugs, the possession of a stolen firearm, and ten stolen slot machines.
According to Hendren, “spice is a mix of herbs, with man-made chemicals applied to it,” which produces a “mind-altering” drug with effects much stronger, and potentially more dangerous to the user than marijuana. Commonly labeled as “not for human consumption” and sold under the pretense of being a potpourri or incense product, its sellers are alleged to know that it is being abused by school-age consumers.
Based upon that suspicion, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has targeted sellers of “spice” as being in violation of laws prohibiting the sale of those active psychotropic drugs being applied to the underlying herbal product. In his report to the media, Hendren detailed the negative individual and social side effects of the use of “spice”, indicating that its use is highly addictive.
Pursuant to law enforcement reports that students at area high schools had been found to be under the influence of “spice”, exhibiting violent and irrational behaviors, Ventura County Narcotic Task Force, in conjunction with the Ventura District Attorney’s Office, the CHP, the Oxnard Police Department, the Simi Valley Police Department and the Santa Paula Police Department, began an undercover effort at more than 30 county smoke shops, resulting in sales of “spice” at nine individual locations.
Those sales resulted in search warrants at those locations, producing more than 43 pounds of “spice”, currently being analyzed by law enforcement to establish the presence of illegal compounds within the seized goods. The searches also produced the stolen guns and slot machines, resulting in the arrests of Ilias Youseef, 37, Abdo Alhaddad, 26—both of Ventura—as well as Dominic Diaz, 35, and Charlene Galvan, 30, both residents of Oxnard.
All four were booked into Ventura County Jail on charges of possession of stolen property and are held pending the outcome of the laboratory findings investigating the recovered “spice.”
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Sheriff
Santa Paula Times: VC Narcotics Task Force finds 9 smoke shops selling spice