NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Deputies from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office seized 252 packages of synthetic marijuana when they executed a search warrant at the KJ's Convenience Store located at 4712 South Street Monday.
"We are trying to be very fair with all our merchants selling these items," Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said in the press release. "But, at the end of the day, they are responsible for what they sell. We have a duty to enforce the law and protect our citizens."
Bridges said even though the synthetic marijuana is marketed as incense, many of the people who purchase the synthetic marijuana smoke it. The sheriff said synthetic marijuana is known for often causing serious side effects and even death in some cases.
"We must all do our part to put a stop to this terrible drug and the impact it is having on our youth," Bridges said.
According to a press release from the NCSO, the synthetic marijuana will be sent off to the Texas Department of Public Safety forensic laboratory to be tested. Depending on the results, the owners of the convenience store could face charges of delivery of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony, and possession of a controlled substance, a state-jail.
Earlier this month, the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office spoke to the owners of the store and other businesses and asked them to voluntarily comply by ending sales of the synthetic marijuana in their stores.
"The owners of the store at the time surrendered their synthetic marijuana to law enforcement and stated they understood the law," the press release stated. "Since that time, the sheriff's office received information that the store was back to selling synthetic marijuana."
NCSO investigators went to the store and made two undercover purchases of the synthetic marijuana. Bridges said the NCSO purchased field test kits that check to see if the synthetic marijuana found in packages contains banned substances.
The synthetic marijuana that was purchased at the store tested positive for a banned substance, the press release stated. After the undercover purchases were made, the Sheriff's Office got a search warrant for the property.
The NCSO conducted a compliance check on the South Street Discount Liquor Store. At that location, the NCSO recovered 12 packages of synthetic marijuana that were being sold at the store.
Bridges said the merchants who are selling this product are running a big risk of being in violation of the Texas Health and Safety Code. He said that even though all of these products are being marketed as not containing any banned substances, the majority of the ones field-tested by NCSO deputies have tested positive for illegal substances.
According to the press release, the Sheriff's Office will continue conducting the compliance checks on Nacogdoches County businesses. Bridges said if the businesses' owners continue to sell the synthetic marijuana with banned substances, the NCSO will take enforcement action against them.