Countywide Synthetic Marijuana Crackdown Results in One Arrest
The Attorney General ban the drug on Feb. 29.
One arrest was made after a crackdown by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and local law enforcement on the ban of synthetic marijuana imposed by the state Attorney General, officials said.
As part of a three-part initiative to enforce the ban, local law enforcement encouraged known-retailers of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or spice, to turn in the product during the 10-day grace period, which was enacted Feb. 29, the prosecutor's office said.
Following the grace period, the prosecutor’s Special Investigations Unit and local police conducted undercover buys at more than 30 retail establishments across Mercer County.
“We were pleased to discover that the majority of retailers were in compliance,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. in a news release.
The owner of Pantry Farms in Ewing Township was the sole arrest made as a result of the buys, the prosecutor's office said. There were 16 packets of synthetic marijuana, called "Wicked Magic," and two empty boxes labeled “Sonic Boom,” another name for the drug, found at the store after a search warrant was executed.
Owner Bakulesh Patel was charged with multiple counts of drug possession and drug distribution, according to the prosecutor's office.
“The early visits with retailers were important and beneficial,” Bocchini said. “They allowed for positive interaction and education, and also gave law enforcement the opportunity to send a clear message of its intended vigilance.”
After the undercover buys, police provided retail owners and managers copies of the law and information about the drug and its harmful effects, the prosecutor's office said.
“Now was the appropriate time to monitor compliance,” Bocchini said. “These substances are not safe, and threaten the health and safety of those who use them. The Attorney General has provided us with a valuable instrument to combat the imminent danger posed by these drugs to the Mercer County community, and we are going to use it.”