There were more than a dozen arrests Friday in a major K2 roundup by investigators in Hillsborough County. It all went down Friday morning in the sheriff's office's ongoing war with illegal K2 or synthetic marijuana.
Investigators aren't shy about voicing their frustration over the sale of K2. They say they've told stores to stop selling, but some keep on doing it .
So Friday, they rolled out "Operation All Smoked Up."
Deputies seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the designer drug during the raids Friday morning.
"This is no different than cocaine, heroin, PCP. We call it synthetic marijuana. If you ask me, after 33 years in narcotics, it's a designer drug, it's that simple," said Major Tom Feeney.
Hillsborough County deputies say it's a way to crack down on stores that investigators say continue to sell K2 despite repeated warnings to stop.
"It'll no longer be tolerated in Hillsborough County. Chemistry classes in this county are closed," said Major Tom Feeney with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
At the County Food Mart on MLK Blvd, the sign said OPEN but it was deputies doing most of the business there. Besides pulling out the drugs, they also pulled out clerk Heather Hernandez.
"You know what it is, it's an open-air drug market. It's that simple," Maj. Feeney said.
But while deputies touted their raids, some customers like Kelly Smith stood back and openly disagreed. She doesn't see a problem with K2.
"It doesn't make you go crazy or anything like that in my opinion," she said.
Officials, on the other hand, say K2 is very dangerous, both in the high and unknown long-term effects. The way it's packaged is also a concern. Some appear to be marketed to young kids.
In total, Operation All Smoked Up smoked out 15 clerks and owners allegedly selling K2 at 12 different stores, and investigators say this is just the beginning.
"In my professional opinion, greed and selfishness took precedent over respect, honor and commitment to making this community safe," Major Feeney said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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