Bryan Cohen Feb. 4, 2013, 7:07pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that local and state law enforcement served five search warrants as part of an effort to stop the sale of synthetic drugs.

The warrants, served in Guernsey, Montgomery and Clark counties, resulted from allegations that synthetic marijuana and/or herbal incense products were being sold in three Ohio stores. DeWine's office has made eliminating the sale of synthetic drugs a priority and sent a warning letter to retailers in November.

"We gave business owners fair warning that if we found synthetic drugs in their stores that there would be consequences, and now we are following through with that promise," DeWine said.

Warrants were served at the New Carlisle-based Quality Food Market, the Byesville-based Bubby's Drive Thru and the Cambridge-based Party Time Carryout. Warrants were also served at the homes of the owners of the Quality Food Market and the Party Time Carryout.

"Some of the drugs found in these investigations came in packaging designed with superhero images, which demonstrates that these drugs are being marketed toward our children," DeWine said. "We need to do everything we can to protect our families, and that is why we decided to take this action one step further and file civil lawsuits against those involved."

DeWine's office filed lawsuits against Quality Food Market, Bubby's Drive Thru and Party Time Carryout alleging that the defendants engaged in deceptive, unfair and unconscionable acts by selling illegal drugs as legal products. Nuisance abatements were also filed against the businesses requesting that they be closed for one year.

A synthetic drug provision to House Bill 334 that went into effect in December strengthened a ban on synthetic drugs. Additional synthetic drug matters are currently ongoing throughout Ohio.

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