Belton: Man Charged In Biggest Synthetic Pot Case In County History

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

BELTON (February 21, 2013)--Anthony Joseph, 43, is named in an indictment charging possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance including more than 400 grams of synthetic marijuana, which prosecutors said was the largest amount of synthetic marijuana ever recovered in Bell County.

An arrest affidavit says Killeen police officers searched Joseph’s business, The Smoke Shack, on Rancier in Killeen, at the end of September and recovered 775 grams of synthetic substances.

During the search officers found a bowl in front of Joseph containing a substance suspected to be synthetic marijuana, also known by the street name Spice, next to the cash register, and a digital scale, the affidavit said.

The affidavit also says Joseph usually kept the front doors of the business locked and only served customers from the drive-thru window.

"This is the largest case for K-2 or Spice we've prosecuted that we're aware of in Bell County," Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said.

Another possession of a controlled substance charge is pending against Joseph.

An affidavit signed Friday by Bell County Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke says that while Killeen police officers were executing a search warrant at a Killeen home at 4702 Teal Drive an officer smelled a strong, sweet marijuana-like scent that he recognized to be synthetic marijuana.

Officers found bags labeled "Assassins," some with hand rolled cigars containing a green plant material and others that were unopened.

The contents field tested positive for the presence of synthetic marijuana, the affidavit says.

Garza said in Bell County there has been an increase in the seizure and prosecution of these types of cases, but that the list of illegal substances used to make K-2 and Spice has to continue to change.

"The people that produce these synthetic reproductions know what is on the list of illegal substances and are trying to use substances that are not on the list, so the last couple of years in the legislative sessions we've had to look at how the chemical compositions are changing," Garza said.

As the trend to adapt to the new chemicals found in these types of drugs continues, so does a nationwide crackdown of the substances.

In July 2012 a 109-city crackdown on the manufacture, distribution and sale of synthetic designer drugs included raids on a store in Killeen and a location in Franklin, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said.

The specific targets of the Central Texas raids weren't identified.

Authorities also carried out raids in Brownsville El Paso, Houston, McAllen, Montgomery Needville, Rosenberg and Spring.

The joint nationwide effort called Operation Log Jam led to more than 90 arrests and the seizure of 5 million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs, which was enough raw material for 13.6 million more packets, and $36 million in cash, the DEA said.

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