WI involvement in nationwide drug bust "Project Synergy"

By KBJR News 1

Image from "Project Synergy"

May 8, 2014 Updated May 8, 2014 at 6:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Federal agents moved in on suspected drug dealers in at least 25 states Wednesday in an operation known as "Project Synergy" serving warrants and seizing narcotics and weapons.

During this operation, federal, state and local authorities dismantled the national distribution of "spice" which is a common term for synthetic cannabinoids.

A federal grand jury in Denver indicted nine people from across the country for conspiracy and drug distribution charges related to "Spice".

A Wisconsin man was busted in relation to this big Denver, Colorado bust. The "Spice" chemicals are sent to the U.S. from China. Investigators found the chemicals were imported into Florida from China, and sprayed onto a green vegetable substance.

Then packaged as "Heart of Asia" and shipped to Colorado, as well as other areas, including Marshfield, WI, at a shop associated with defendant Kenneth Chastain in Wisconsin.

The DEA says defendants face charges ranging from conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and violate the Controlled Substances Act to distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

They add that penalties range from not more than five years in federal prison up to not more than 20 years in federal prison, depending on the nature of the charge.

The DEA says these indictments represent the most significant investigation to date in the U.S. regarding synthetic cannabinoid trafficking which resulted in more than 220 spice–related emergency room visits and at least one death in Colorado last year.

Ramona Marozas