SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Thursday that 1,466 packages of illegal synthetic drugs were confiscated from a retailer on Tuesday, representing the most relinquished since the start of Operation Smoked Out.
The drugs, which had a street value of $40,792, were relinquished by Mount Vernon retailer Blind Tiger on Tuesday. It was the largest amount turned over since the start of the statewide initiative meant to eliminate the dangerous drugs from retail stores in Illinois.
"This operation was a significant step toward removing these dangerous drugs from southern Illinois store shelves," Madigan said. "It should send a strong message that we will not tolerate the sale of these potentially deadly substances."
Madigan's staff joined officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Mount Vernon Police. Suspicious fire and building code violations were observed at Blind Tiger by inspectors called to the scene during the compliance operation.
Illegal products were also relinquished from Main Street Records. There were 169 packages confiscated from the store with a street value of $4,276. A return visit to a store that previously sold illegal synthetic drugs found the store in compliance on Thursday.
Williamson County law enforcement joined Madigan's staff in Marion and found 20 packages with a street value of $600 at the Book Cellar. Another Marion location that was checked revealed no illegal synthetic products.
Retailers in Mount Vernon and Marion relinquished 1,655 packages of synthetic drugs in total with a street value of over $45,600.
Poison Control Centers throughout the United States have reported a significant increase in calls about synthetic marijuana and bath salts. Bath salts are synthetic drugs that consist of chemical compounds mimicking the effects of methamphetamine or cocaine. The centers received 2,915 calls related to synthetic marijuana use in 2010. The number more than doubled to 6,890 calls in 2011. Bath salt-related calls jumped from 303 calls in 2010 to 6,072 calls last year.
To go along with Operation Smoked Out, Madigan also proposed a bill passed by the General Assembly to stop the retail sale of synthetic drugs. House Bill 5233 would define a synthetic drug product as one containing a controlled substance that is unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The bill would severely increase the penalty for selling drugs that have misleading labels. The bill is currently awaiting a signature from Governor Pat Quinn.