News 12 First at Five / Friday, July 6, 2012
HARLEM, Ga. -- It's a drug that may not be very well known, but Columbia County investigators believe they have found more than 1,000 bags of synthetic marijuana.
Investigators say they now have a total of 1,145 bags worth more than $21,000.
Only News 12 was there as officials confiscated bags of the suspected drug from a local convenience store Thursday night.
On Friday, it's business as usual at Pumpkin Center in Harlem.
Barry Roberson shops at the convenience store a few times a week.
"It's been very well known, you know, you can ask anybody about the Pumpkin Center area and they know exactly where it is," he said.
What many people probably didn't know was that possible spice was going in and out of the doors.
A narcotics investigator told News 12, "We actually seized 292 packets of synthetic marijuana."
Plus, more than 800 more bags at the owner's home.
"It just surprised me, you know, and I just think people need to watch what's going on around them," Roberson said.
Roberson didn't know possible spice was selling over the counter or even what it was.
"I've never heard of spice," he said.
We can't show you those investigators' faces, but they say people are just as clueless of its effects.
"Two months down the road, you might be dead," one of them said.
Now, all of these packets are being tested for one of the five Schedule I drugs that are illegal.
A narcotics investigator told News 12, "We will seize any synthetic marijuana. You're taking a risk for being arrested for Schedule I and you will lose your money 'cause we will seize any synthetic marijuana that's in our county."
It's a tough message for those dealing the synthetic drug, meanwhile, some hope to stick to the drug's traditional meaning.
"The only thing I know are spice cakes. I've never heard of spice drugs," Roberson said.
News 12 attempted to talk to the owners, but we were told they work the later shift.
Investigators continue testing out those packets looking for one of the five illegal ingredients. It could take about two months until the final results are released.