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

'Operation Spice King' largest synthetic pot bust in Pinellas

Posted: Updated:
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.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


  • Don't Miss ItMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • Koala survives 54-mile ride clinging to car's grill

    Koala survives 54-mile ride clinging to car's grill

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:59 PM EDT2014-07-29 17:59:42 GMT
    Timberwolf clung to a car for 54 miles. Australia Zoo Facebook photoTimberwolf clung to a car for 54 miles. Australia Zoo Facebook photo
    An adorable little koala survived an amazing high-speed ride by clinging to a car for 54 miles on an Australia highway. The koala suffered a torn nail during the ordeal.
    An adorable little koala survived an amazing high-speed ride by clinging to a car for 54 miles on an Australia highway. The koala suffered a torn nail during the ordeal.
  • FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:48:07 GMT
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
  • Most Viewed Stories on WFLA.com

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.