CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Friday that retailers in Macomb and Peoria were the latest targets in Operation Smoked Out, an initiative geared toward removing illegal synthetic drugs from stores in Illinois.
In total, 371 packages of products with an estimated street value of $7,459 were handed over to law enforcement officials. Police from Colchester and Bushnell also participated, finding no no illegal drug products during the sweeps at McDonough County locations.
"With each operation, we are sending a message to retailers statewide that law enforcement may soon be at their store to ensure that illegal drugs are not on the shelves," Madigan said.
In Peoria, law enforcement officers and members of Madigan's office confiscated 203 packages from Feeling Groovy valued at $2,749 and 50 packages from Younger Than Yesterday valued at $913.45. In Macomb, the sweeps led to 118 packages confiscated from a Cenex at a value of $3,796.10.
The store sweeps are part of a continuing effort by Madigan's office to attend to the rising use of synthetic drugs, particularly among young adults and teens.
Poison Control Centers have noted a dramatic increase in calls about synthetic marijuana and bath salts, which can mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine. The centers saw an increase in calls related to the use of bath salts from 303 calls in 2010 to 6,072 calls in 2011. The centers experienced an increase from 2,915 calls related to synthetic marijuana use in 2010 to 6,890 calls in 2011.