ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Hundreds of pages of federal search warrants and other court documents are revealing more about the the Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into the Albuquerque Spice trade.
Last Wednesday DEA agents raided more than a dozen businesses and residences across the metro area and arrested four people in connection with Operation Log Jam, a nationwide crackdown on a synthetic marijuana more commonly known as Spice.
According to search warrants filed in federal court, the DEA had been working on the case against two prominent Spice manufacturers and distributors since February. That's when undercover agents started to buy several different products from M&M Smoke Shop near Central Avenue and University Boulevard.
Lab tests later confirmed that they contained illegal Spice.
Investigators said they intercepted several packages from China heading to the Albuquerque home of the owner of that store, Maher Hijazi. Some of those packages were mislabeled as "Metal Corrosion Inhibitor" or "Printer Consumables Sample 1," but all contained a white powdery substance later identified by lab tests as Spice.
The DEA was also looking at Raid Rihani, owner of several Ray's Smoke Shops around Albuquerque. According to court documents, the DEA started tapping Rihani's cell phone in May. The recorded conversations revealed Rihani was living large selling illegal Spice and bath salts in his stores, according to the court documents.
In one call, Rihani reportedly tells an associate he's making $200,000 a month by selling a product known as "Black Sabbath."
According to court documents, Rihani was making so much money that he had to buy property to get rid of it. Investigators tracked Rihani until the house of cards came down last week when DEA agents started its nationwide raid.
Rihani and three others face conspiracy charges. News 13 called a U.S. Attorney's spokesperson to ask whether additional charges could be filed, but no one had responded as of late Tuesday.
Operation Log Jam resulted in more than 90 arrests around the country and took more than five million packages of Spice and bath salts off the street, the DEA reported.
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Albuquerque police shot and killed a man Sunday night after responding to an assault call near UNM.
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