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“Without getting into specific details of our investigation I can let you know that there are almost a dozen stores that are involved in the sale of this that we are aware of,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Resident-Agent-in-Charge Michael Puralewski for Guam and CNMI told PNC Friday.
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According to Puralewski almost all law enforcement agencies are involved in a joint investigation involving the sale of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as “Spice” on Guam. The chemical ingredients of the synthetic substances have been banned by Guam and Federal laws but chemists are constantly changing the formula to evade law enforcement.
PNC this week revealed that So-Kel Industries was selling what they called “Herbal varieties” of the substances out of their Hagatna store. The product sells under the names “Triple X” and “Mary J” for $45 a vial.
“This is a Herbal Product that is currently 100% legal, until new law goes in effect” So-Kel co-owner Leena Taimanglo wrote in an email to PNC following our story revealing the sale on Wednesday.
According to Puralewski however many products marketed as “legal” contain substances banned by Guam and Federal law.
“When the the manufacturer sends a shop a certain amount of packets or whatever its in normally they'll attach some sort of analysis with that that states 'This product does not contain any of the prohibited substances,' DEA has found that that is not necessarily true,” Puralewski warns. “On many occasions after we have analyzed the product it does contain some of the prohibited substances.”
The DEA also plans to investigate and prosecute businesses found to be distributing the product.
“If it comes back containing one of the banned substances then they are in fact distributing a scheduled 1 substance so in other words thats a criminal a criminal charge,” Puralewski siad. “You could end up being prosecuted and you know thats what we intend to do.”
Puralewski also cautions parents to warn their children about the dangers of synthetic substances as he says its typically targeted for children ages 11 to 17.
“I ask that parents talk to their kids about it to let them know that its not a safe item to smoke,” Puralewski pleads. “We have had individuals seek medical attention young children after using synthetic cannabinoids here on Guam.”
“We hope to have some success being able to shut these places down,” Puralewski said in conclusion.
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