'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>>

  • Baby cakes: 'Smash' trend taking 1-year-old parties by storm

    Baby cakes: 'Smash' trend taking 1-year-old parties by storm

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:23:30 GMT
    Legions of parents have embraced the smash cake, a birthday party feature in which brand-new 1-year-olds are served cakes to destroy — adorably — in front of friends and family.
    Legions of parents have embraced the smash cake, a birthday party feature in which brand-new 1-year-olds are served cakes to destroy — adorably — in front of friends and family.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • 4 - 5,000 attend Snooty's 66th birthday bash

    4 - 5,000 attend Snooty's 66th birthday bash

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:03:55 GMT
    Snooty’s 66th birthday “cake”  was made from cabbage, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes and beets. South Florida Museum photoSnooty’s 66th birthday “cake” was made from cabbage, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes and beets. South Florida Museum photo
    Imagine 4,000 people coming to your birthday party. That's about how many people showed up to celebrate the 66th birthday of Tampa Bay's beloved Snooty the manatee. 
    Imagine 4,000 people coming to your birthday party. That's about how many people showed up to celebrate the 66th birthday of Tampa Bay's beloved Snooty the manatee. 
  • 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.