In a joint effort between the Manchester Police Department Special Enforcement Division, New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit and the United Stated Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities were able to seize over $25,000 worth of spice from a Manchester business.
Police say the six-month investigation was underway before the 50-plus spice-related overdoses in August, and is that the investigation is ongoing.
Controlled buys of spice products were made at two Spider Bite locations, 179 Elm Street and 435 Elm Street. After the controlled buys were complete, multiple brands of spice were tested for synthetic cannabinoids. Certain cannabinoids are listed as Schedule 1 drugs, making them illegal.
Police say a portion of the confiscated spice tested positive for illegal substances at both Spider Bite locations, so investigators applied for and were granted search warrants. Upon executing the search warrants, investigators located and seized more than 11 pounds of the spice, also referred to as synthetic marijuana.
The street value is believed to be in excess of $25,000. They also seized approximately $14,000 in United States currency.
Jon Thomas, owner of Spider Bite, was not charged for selling spice, which are packaged as incense or potpourri. Police say Thomas continued selling the product and allegedly had customers sign waivers before buying the products. Police say the waivers may have been in direct response to the State of Emergency declared by Gov. Maggie Hassan on Aug. 13, 2014.
Overall, the investigation includes hundreds of field work hours, investigative work hours and dedication by members of each of the respective agencies, and police say it has reduced the number of overdoses and emergency calls in the city.