Man faces charges for selling “spice”

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MANCHESTER, NH — Police arrested a man for selling spice on city streets, more than once.

Through a collaborative investigation, the Manchester Police Department and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Heath Palmer, 39, on a federal warrant for possession with Intent to distribute a synthetic cannabinoid containing an ingredient considered to be an illegal substance. Synthetic cannabinoids are often known on the street as “spice.”

According to court documents, a month-long investigation began on April 18, 2019, when Manchester Police saw Palmer conducting hand-to-hand sales from a car and and stopped him.

He voluntarily gave police the product he was selling. Palmer told police the product did not contain illegal substances. The product was sent to the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory. They confirmed it did in fact contain an illegal substance.

On May 7, 2019, Manchester Police told Palmer of the findings. Three days later, officers once again saw Palmer making hand-to-hand sales from a car. The police stopped the car and seized the product Palmer was selling. It was tested again and contained the same illegal substance.

The charges in the complaint are only allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The DEA issued a regulation on April 16, 2019, that the substance known as 54-MDMB-PICA was a controlled substance, and therefore illegal.

Spice is not a single drug. It is composed of multiple laboratory-made chemicals. Components in the product are constantly changing making it difficult to know what is in it. Spice often mimics the effects of THC (a chemical found in cannabis, but often times it is much more intense and can be very dangerous.) 

The Manchester Police Department is working diligently to keep spice out of our city. The pictures below are examples of the product officers are seeing on the street.

Along with the announcement of this arrest, Manchester Police want the public to be aware of the dangers surrounding this type of product. Although the packaging may say external use only or may be labeled as incense, it can be smoked and cause adverse reactions in the brain.