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7 face synthetic drug charges after 2 shops raided

Seven Gloucester suspects are facing federal charges relating to conspiracy to distribute “analogues” of synthetic drugs, commonly known as “Bath Salts.”

On February 13, law enforcement officers of a multi-jurisdictional drug task force executed search warrants at two Gloucester Point-area smoke shops—Lutie’s Lair Martial Arts Equipment and Gifts, and High Tyde Trading & Tobacco. The raid followed months of investigation, and marked the second time this year that police have filed federal charges against store owners and employees relating to synthetic drugs. The earlier charges have been or are being processed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

Bath Salt drugs, such as “spice,” mimic the effects of other illegal drugs such as marijuana, Meth, LSD, cocaine and many others.

Illegal drug makers have skirted the law by changing the compound once a formula is made illegal. However, federal law makes drugs illegal that are “analogues” and closely resemble the illegal formula.

Those charged include store owner Lutgarda “Lutie” Muller, 61; Brian Street, 39; James Belvin, 37; Thomas Rainer; Martice Wise III; Ashley Summerfield, 23; and Joshua Burleson, 19.

posted 02.19.2014

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