'Operation Spice King' largest synthetic pot bust in Pinellas - WFLA News Channel 8

'Operation Spice King' largest synthetic pot bust in Pinellas

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The "Operation Spice King" investigation took a year to complete. The "Operation Spice King" investigation took a year to complete.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office worked with the DEA and the Florida State Attorney's office to arrest 10 people suspected of being involved in a synthetic marijuana ring.

The investigation, called "Operation Spice King," took about a year to complete. They started the investigation in June of 2013 after getting a tip that 32-year-old Shamir Sultanali Nathani was distributing synthetic pot in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the United States. The suspects were arrested on April 7 and 8, 2014.

Investigators say it was the largest spice bust of its kind in Pinellas County.

Detectives say they discovered the chemicals and packaging for spice or synthetic marijuana in five locations throughout the Bay area.

The suspects took chemicals shipped from China and sprayed them on Damiani leaves from Mexico to create synthetic pot, according to investigators.

The packaged product was then shipped to various locations in the U.S. including cities in Nevada, Texas, Missisippi, Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Kentucky. Investigators say they documented 1000 parcels shipped via UPS between 2011 and 2014 as part of the spice network.

Deputies arrested Pyarali Heerani and Shamir Nathani here in Tampa Bay along with 8 others across the country. Neither has a criminal background or history of drug arrests.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the spice is packaged and priced to attract teens. But unlike marijuana, the synthetic drug causes aggressive and delusional behavior, according to Sheriff Gualtieri.

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