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UPDATED: Nationwide Drug Bust Includes SJC, LN

An armored vehicle and federal agents roll into an upscale San Juan Capistrano neighborhood as part of a nationwide crackdown on the synthetic drug industry.

UPDATE: 11:42 a.m. Patch learned that a dramatic search warrant served in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday was tied to a nationwide “synthetic drug takedown,” as the Drug Enforcement Administration is calling it.

A DEA map showing areas of operation for synthetic drug dealers includes Laguna Niguel and Escondido in San Diego County.

Read the follow up story .

More than 90 individuals were arrested and more than 5 million packets of designer drugs were seized in the first nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry, which is responsible for the production and sale of drugs often marketed as bath salts, Spice, incense or plant food, according to a DEA press release.

More than $36 million in cash was also seized, according to the DEA.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that Wednesday’s search warrant – in which an armored vehicle and federal agents with rifles descended upon the Rancho Madrina tract – was indeed part of “Operation Log Jam,” as the DEA has dubbed it.

The effort was a joint project of the DEA and ICE with assistance from the IRS, the U.S. Postal Service and the FBI, among other federal agencies, according to the DEA.

More than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., K2, Spice) and the ingredients to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (e.g., bath salts) and the ingredients to produce an additional 392,000 were seized, according to the DEA.

“Although tremendous progress has been made in legislating and scheduling these dangerous substances, this enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in the press release.

“Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative and investigative tool at our disposal,” the DEA said.

Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations James Chaparro said: “Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry. The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits. ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

Here is San Juan Capistrano Patch’s story from 10:48 a.m.

Federal agents served a search warrant in an upscale San Juan Capistrano neighborhood Wednesday, sending an armored vehicle and armed officers onto a quiet suburban street.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she could offer few details.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Lori Haley. “We don’t want to compromise an investigation.”

Neighbors told Patch that officers used a loudspeaker to tell the homeowner in the 31000 block of Carril de Maderas in the Rancho Madrina tract that they had a search warrant. The owner and his wife were reportedly handcuffed. 

“The wife sat in the SWAT tank with her two young children. The husband sat handcuffed on a driveway of another home on the street,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “There were six men, fully decked out in armor, head gear and rifles, on this Homeland Security tank, as it rolled down the street.”

Haley said she didn’t believe there were any arrests made in connection with the Wednesday operation.

“I can’t pinpoint when it will culminate or how it will culminate,” Haley said.

Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I believe so. Pretty sure it wasn't him, though! Just updated the story. The search warrant was part of a nationwide synthetic drug bust.
Marc Schroeder July 27, 2012 at 06:57 PM
If they really wanted to "strike a huge blow" to these synthetic drug manufacturers without wasting tax-dollars? All they have to do is legalize cannabis.
BD July 27, 2012 at 06:59 PM
No! This should be scary for the entire nation as this is the acclimation process used to create a norm for a military presence in urban and suburban streets. This is nothing more than Fascist tactics to impliment Feeral control over all localities. This will become more and more common and all under the guise of protecting us from terrorism. Do Not Fall For This Takeover Of America! This will evolve into drone monitoring and much, much more.
ms.sc. July 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Marc! Great! That's all we need is a bunch of "stoned" people driving under the influence! As if alcohol isn't enough of a problem on our roadways!! I would vote NO!
Marc Schroeder July 27, 2012 at 07:47 PM
ms.sc, millions of your fellow Americans ALREADY consume cannabis everyday and you do NOT read or hear about "stoned" drivers causing havoc on our roads as drunks do. People are going to continue to use cannabis whether it is illegal or not. Currently, many choose these synthetic drugs which are much worse because they do not want to fail a drug test for cannabis. No one has ever killed and eaten a raw dog after ingesting cannabis as it happened in Texas last week after a guy smoked "spice" I would argue that legal cannabis is a much better plan.
Shripathi Kamath July 27, 2012 at 07:57 PM
"No one has ever killed and eaten a raw dog after ingesting cannabis" Alaska Palin should be consulted on this. She may be quite certain that Nobama has actually done such things. It is not a far leap from there to conclude that he did so in quick succession. http://politi.co/OUDTlu
Clint Worthington July 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Yes it is Eric. It just goes to show that Allevato does not know what is going on in his own neighborhood, let alone City Hall. By the way, have you received your water bill yet? See what I mean, he does not know what is going on.
Shirley July 27, 2012 at 08:30 PM
And many of the people in Laguna Niguel walk around with blinders on thinking & saying "there is no crime in Laguna Niguel".
Dusty W Otero July 27, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I agree with Marc..I just think in this day and age 2012 that we voted for legalizing marijuana,and it passed,,,and look at where we are at today,and sick people and folks that are allergic to alcohol contained drinks and socialize with pot and there not going to be able to buy the fresh green manna from the planet earth...Gods landscape...thanks Marc for that...
ms.sc. July 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Yes you do read and hear about people being under the influence of cannabis Marc. The local newspaper may or may not publish the intoxicating substance and may generalize it. I stand by my opinion that cannabis should not be legalized. Look what mayhem the "pot shops" in Southern California cities caused and how dissapointed many were who lived near their "medical marijuna shops" were. And the synthetic drugs these "slick willy's" are trying to pass off as "healthy bath salts, ect"...all I will say is I am glad our Government is stepping in to protect us from the lies of these so-called "health shops"!
GRT July 27, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Great Election Year Strategy with Headlines. This commitment, on this scale, to slow down drug trafficking, should have been done many years ago. Unlike the "official comments" as to how much this hurt the drug trafficking, this total bust is not even the "tip of the iceberg".
ms.sc. July 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Marc, I believe the story you are talking about was in Florida. I may be wrong, if so I apologize. The story I read about 2 weeks ago was of a homeless man attacked by this young man "high" on bath salts. I hope the man survives this animalistic, human attack. The police shot the attacker dead. An anotopsy showed synthetic drugs in his system. My question to you is...Quote "Currently, many choose these synthetic drugs which are much worse because they do not want to fail a drug test for cannabis". Why feel the need for a drug? How does a drug make you like yourself better when you look into the mirror? If you like herbs...what about God's naturals such as parsley, sage, actually cilantro is my favorite! Healthy Blessings.
BD July 28, 2012 at 02:36 AM
ms.sc, you are relying too much in the benevolence of government. These laws against drugs are only here under the guise of protection. It is only illegal because a bunch of elected officials and bureaucrats wish to control individuals. Furthermore, drugs remain illegal because it allows less, much less, competition for the drug smuggling CIA so that profits can be used to fund black ops. Yes, of course I am wearing my tin foil hat as I write this but do your research on where our CIA has been caught in illegal activity and it is usually close to drug trade. We guard the poppy fields in Afghanistan and topple central American countries, for what, their high productivity? How about this, you do with your body as you please and everyone else will do with theirs as they please. Do not ask or praise the governments use of force by guns to control people for your wants. It does not matter if someone crashes their car on alcohol, weed, or from talking on the phone. It is the same violation of property if they hit someone, period. Government intervention is never the solution, people must learn from mistakes which they make or others in society make. No coercion!
ms.sc. July 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Interesting and actually boastful of you to acknowledge your "tin foil hat". Your post would actually be educational if you could actually prove the "puff" of pipe dreams you post. What proof do you have the United States guards poppy fields in Afghanistan? Or maybe you use "we" loosely. Your post is very reckless. I am not impressed.
mike July 28, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I am very troubled that the internal security forces in the UNITED STATES of AMERICA have assault vehicles like this. I have seen fotos of others in other locations in the USA. This looks like something out of eastern europe, not the country I grew up in. And they don't always get the right people other. your tax dollars at work.
Frieda Wales July 28, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Penney, do you know which streets in Laguna Niguel were involved?
Frieda Wales July 28, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I challenge that number Shripathi.... I have it from well known individuals that the number is closer to 256.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I don't. I tried to find out, but the DEA wouldn't say ANYTHING beyond the press release and ICE wouldn't tell me anything beyond what's already in the story. If I hear, I will definitely pass it on ASAP.
Brian Walker July 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Opium fields guarded by US troops. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_54LJMwG4E
Brian Walker July 28, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Former LA PD cop confronts CIA director about drug laundering. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t3pl5Wxgyg
Brian Walker July 28, 2012 at 04:40 PM
"Adler Berriman Seal (July 16, 1939 – February 19, 1986), better known as Barry Seal, was a United States drug smuggler and aircraft pilot who flew covert flights for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Medellín Cartel." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Seal
Brian Walker July 28, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Guns, Drugs, and the CIA http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html
Marc Schroeder July 28, 2012 at 04:58 PM
ms. No, the "story" I "am talking about" Did NOT "happen in Florida" This is ANOTHER bizarre incident involving synthetic drugs this time the person was observed smoking "Spice" which supposed to be a substitute for marijuana.He then grabbed his roommate's dog and strangled it and started biting out chunks of raw meat and hair.Now,what you said about "herbs" being "god's blessings" that you enjoy,how would you like it if cilantro was made illegal?Cannabis is NOT a drug,it is an herb in it's natural form.Created by your god if that is what you believe about the other herbs.Cannabis has been used for thousands of years by humans for a variety of aliments and for the simple pleasure of smoking.It has only been 70 years since there was a large amount of racist propaganda released and it was outlawed.All of this crapola has since been scientifically discredited yet the for profit prisons,the prison Guards union,the textiles industry,the alcohol industry,the tobacco industry,the DEA,and the prescription drug industry (which is the most profitable of all industries in America) all have a vested interest and the lobbyists needed to keep cannabis illegal. And you ms.sc. are a perfect example of a person who has swallowed their lies. If you are not afraid to learn the truth about cannabis and America's 70 year persecution of a plant and the persons you love it as much as you love cilantro? I suggest you read "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" or watch the film"The Union"and find the truth.
Brian Walker July 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Marines leaving opium crop alone. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/05/ap_marines_opium_050608/ JALALABAD, Afghanistan (February 15, 2001 8:19 p.m. EST) "U.N. drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has nearly wiped out opium production in Afghanistan -- once the world's largest producer -- since banning poppy cultivation last summer." http://opioids.com/afghanistan/index.html
ms.sc. July 28, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Thank you Brian for taking off my "rose-colored-glasses". I would still vote no on making cannabis legal. I do appreciate your posts. I knew alot of what happens within our military isn't public knowledge, clearly I missed these links. Thank you for the education.
Protective Neighbor July 28, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Clint Worthington - really??? You think Sam should have known about this? They didn't even arrest the guy so what does that say? Maybe they got it wrong! Do you think all of us neighbors should have known? Do you really expect people to take you seriously when you make a comment like that?
Clint Worthington July 28, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I am so very sorry that you took me seriously.
d July 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Penny- why is it this story isn't in ANY other news outlet? NO oc register, nothing on local news? this was a BIG deal and my hubby saw this in action and it was crazy. Did the DOJ or FBI make a mistake and that's why no one is covering it? There were no arrests....
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Lots of articles have been written nationwide about Operation Log Jam, just no others focusing on the Orange County angle.

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