DEA conducts synthetic drug raids in 29 states, 150+ arrested

Last week we discussed the new clemency rules that the federal government has promulgated for people convicted of non-violent federal offenses. The new rules are expected to apply primarily to convictions for federal drug crimes. Despite the apparent relaxation in policy related to drug offenses that surrounds the new clemency rules, the shift does not mean that federal agents and prosecutors intend to stop investigating possible federal drug crimes.

So-called “designer drugs” have been gaining attention all across the nation in recent years. Congress has specifically identified 26 synthetic compounds that have been targeted for federal regulation. But, authorities say that chemical compositions can change over time.

Synthetic compounds have gained the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Over the years, the DEA has used its power to occasionally place a number of new compounds on the list of controlled substances, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In addition to using its emergency powers to schedule synthetic drugs, the DEA has been pursuing designer drug investigations. The office says that prosecutors may also seek to prove that a substance is essentially chemically similar to a listed substance for the purposes of drug control.

On Wednesday, agents descended upon locations all across the country in search of evidence of unlawful synthetic drug manufacturing, distribution and other federal offenses. Agents executed search warrants in 29 states and made more than 150 arrests related to the nationwide designer drug crackdown.

Synthetic drug crimes are relatively new and the issues in this emerging area of law can be complex. A person suspected of a synthetic drug offense should consider consulting with a federal drug crime lawyer for help in reviewing the issues and defending against serious federal charges.

Source: The Washington Post, “DEA raids synthetic drug manufacturers in a major nationwide crackdown,” Abby Phillip, May 7, 2014