Drug enforcement agents call a recent bust of an operation to make and sell synthetic marijuana, commonly known as "Spice," a big win.
The numbers are staggering.
In one large seizure, more than 150 pounds of raw materials to make Spice were taken by DEA agents in Colorado Springs this week. Those close to the investigation explained that amount of material could be turned into 45,000 packets of the synthetic cannabinoid. Investigators say that could get about 90,000 people high, or very sick.
"You equate that to filling up the Denver Broncos stadium," said DEA Agent Matthew Barden.
Barden said the owners of Spice of Life, a shop on Academy Boulevard near Jetwing Drive in Colorado Springs, are suspected of running the operation. The products, marketed as incense, with names like "Colorado Chronic," and "Mister Nice Guy" are positively deadly.
"This stuff is killing people, it's absolutely one of the most dangerous things out there as far as drugs," Barden said.
Multiple cases of people overdosing on Spice in Colorado led to a recent investigation by the CDC into those reports. Investigators said they are not aware if those overdoses could be linked to the bust in Colorado Springs. But those reports, Barden said, did lead them to speed up the bust, which has been in the works since early 2013.
The Spice was reportedly on display and for sale in the Spice of Life shop, which is tucked into a strip mall that draws families for other day-to-day business.
"[Spice] is pretty dangerous," said a woman who visits the business area regularly.
She takes her daughter to dance classes at a nearby studio. She didn't want to give her name, but is relieved everything seized by the DEA is no longer on the streets.
"I think it's going on all over town. I'm glad they took care of it, and at least they stopped some of it," she said.
Investigators said Wednesday they're just getting started.
The DEA also found dozens of marijuana plants at the suspects' home. Their names and pictures have not been released, but they will face felony charges. This investigation is ongoing.
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