The scene was like something out of a movie, acccording to residents of the San Juan Capistrano gated community of Rancho Madrina.
rolled onto Carril de Maderas and armed federal agents set up a perimeter.
“At 5:30, they had machine guns pointed at [the suspect's] window for an hour,” said one neighbor, who requested anonymity. “You can’t even imagine. It looked like a warzone.”
The visit to the unnamed Rancho Madrina resident – who neighbors said has lived in the area about nine months – was part of a nationwide crackdown on the synthetic drug industry. The lead agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, dubbed it “Operation Log Jam.”
The agents in San Juan Capistrano were serving a search warrant, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. ICE, as well as the IRS, U.S. Postal Service and several other federal agencies, worked the investigation.
No arrests were made, the DEA spokeswoman said.
But neighbors said agents did confiscate the home’s cars two Mercedes-Benz sports utility vehicles and a pickup.
“It probably lasted four hours,” said one neighbor. “There were about 75 people here and, after they left, there were undercover cars with maybe 50 people.”
Another neighbor said he counted 21 “unmarked” cars after the SWAT team left.
“It’s mindboggling here,” he said. “It’s a movie, and nobody can figure it out.”
He added that he and others nearby have heard helicopters overhead during the nights since.
The nationwide effort netted 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, according to the DEA.
It was the first major effort of its kind, the agency said.