Raid nets synthetic drugs, suspects in Orleans and Terrebonne - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Raid nets synthetic drugs, suspects in Orleans and Terrebonne

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

They have names like "Molly" and "Spice" and the federal government wants the synthetic drugs off the street.

In 29 states, including Louisiana, federal agents conducted raids and seized synthetic designer drugs. At least 150 people were arrested.

"Hundreds of other ingredients that are included in these substances, none of which are regulated and could include everything from rat poison to substances you use to clean pipes," said Terry Davis with the DEA.

The feds haul was enormous. They seized hundreds of thousands of individually packaged synthetic drugs, as well as raw synthetic products used to make the substances. The Drug Enforcement Agency said more than $20 million in cash and assets was also seized.

The drugs have been blamed for hallucinations and bizarre behavior in some users, and they're also associated with a growing number of deaths nationwide.

"You might get a packet that's got a low dose in it, I might get a packet that's got a high dose, and then I go off the charts, so it's really a death drug," said Mary Lou McCall of the non-profit group, Action Against Addiction.

Last year, Southeastern Louisiana University student Meghan Lopez died after using synthetic drugs, according to her family.

"The doctors assured us that she had a very, very serious reaction to this drug and it didn't appear that she was going to come out of it," her mother, Dena Lopez said in an interview last May.

"When people try these drugs, they're actually playing Russian roulette with their lives," said Davis.

Anti-drug crusaders say oftentimes young people say yes to synthetic marijuana and other drugs without having a clue about how damaging they can be to their body.

"If you've got 26 kinds of different types of chemicals in this little packet, it's going to turn your brain into something it's not meant to be, it's going to re-wire it and it's going to cause people's behavior to be outrageous. That's why you're seeing people cannibalize people," said McCall.

The DEA's operation netted six arrests in the New Orleans area, specifically in Orleans and Terrebonne Parishes. A half-kilo of bath salt material was seized, as was synthetic marijuana, a weapon and approximately $75,000 in cash.

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