CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - Drug Task Force agents seized thousands of dollars worth of synthetic marijuana, or "spice" in Carlsbad after parents and teachers noticed their kids acting strangely.
Nearly 5,000 packages, and more than 35 brands of Spice were seized last week from a novelty shop in Carlsbad. The store value seized is almost $100,000.
"It's not like regular marijuana, it actually has all kinds of other chemicals in it, so people aren't going to react the same way," explained commander Carroll Caudill, of the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force. "It's going to alter them mentally."
Since the synthetic drug became illegal last November, law enforcement has been cracking down, working to stop the sale of spice in their communities.
"This was our first opportunity to actually go in and make an arrest and do something about it," Caudill explained.
Garlan Plumlee, 59, the Looking Glass shop owner, received federal charges Friday of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and money laundering.
Caudill said it was concerned parents and school officials who were calling law enforcement to complain about children smoking spice and carrying it in school. They wanted law enforcement to investigate where kids were getting it.
Police said it was mostly middle school and high school aged kids caught with the drug. Caudill recalled conversations he had with concerned parents.
"They were talking about how their kids weren't acting right, some of them were aggressive, some of them were just not acting normal, it was affecting their behavior," Caudill said.
In a four month investigation, undercover agents with Pecos Valley Drug Task Force bought several items from the Looking Glass. Department of Public Safety Crime lab tests determined items purchased contained the illegal synthetic drug.
Along with spice, agents seized seven rifles, 12 semi-automatic handguns, a small amount of cocaine, plus $147,000 in cash and cashier's checks the shop owner had on him.
"Now, there's no one in Carlsbad selling spice, so I don't have to be as worried about the children in our community being exposed to it or using it," Caudill said, calling the bust a success.
Caudill said the shop did check ID's to make sure customers were 18 or older, but he pointed out kids had to get it from somewhere, and Looking Glass was the only place in town that sold the items.
Task Force agents are working with the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agency to determine whether the guns seized from the shop were illegal.
Caudill said the investigation could lead to more arrests.
A Colorado company is recalling 45 tons of meat and poultry products a federal agency says were produced under unsanitary conditions.
New Mexico could become the third state in the nation to let doctors help their terminally-ill patients end their lives by prescribing medication to end their suffering.
APD is budgeted for 1,100 officers. Right now, the number of sworn officers is closer to 900.
The attorney for a state cop fired last week for shooting at a minivan full of kids tells News 13 her client deserves his job back.
An Albuquerque Police officer involved shooting over the weekend marks the fifth since late October and city officials are taking notice.
A woman was stolen from her daughter's car, a woman who died more than five years ago.