Warrant: Exotica Stores Raided for Synthetic Drugs
Two months ago, federal agents raided five Exotica stores. KMTV Action 3 News looks into what they were investigating, and if it’s led to any indictments.
In September, federal agents raided so called "Head Shops" in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Lincoln, and Sioux City. According to a manager at the time they seized water pipes, incense, and computers. The feds would only say they were looking for evidence of criminal activity. The operation was organized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
A recently obtained search warrant indicates the ATF thinks Exotica stores were selling k-2, bath salts, or synthetic drugs. All of which are illegal in Nebraska.
"Based on what my client is telling me and how they run the operation, this stuff is all sold as incense and the last I heard there was nothing illegal about incense," said Bill McGinn, the attorney on behalf of the Exotica store owner.
The search warrant said the Nebraska State Patrol stopped two packages at a Fed-Ex shipping center that was heading to the 72nd Cass St. location. They reportedly contained what was believed to be bags of synthetic marijuana, incense and bags of plant like material with colored flakes.
"These are all items that my client would've happily made available to them,” McGinn explained.
In 2011, the state of Nebraska banned the sale of K2 and has since updated their laws to cover other kinds of synthetic drugs. Senator Beau McCoy introduced the bill and says K2 was being sold as herbal incense, though the product was sprayed with potent psychotropic drugs. Senator Brad Ashford, the head of the Nebraska Judiciary Committee, says it's critical to stay ahead.
"I think they should stop selling them, and they are now at least if it falls under the definitions that we have. They're preying on young people and it's just pathetic to see," Ashford described.
So far, authorities have made no arrests or returned any indictments.
"I think it's a little bit of overkill but they do what they do and we'll see where it leads," McGinn concluded.
The ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Omaha wouldn't comment because it is an open investigation, and their search warrants are sealed.
McGinn says the Exotica stores will give product to law enforcement, and give them the lab reports of what it's made from.