Raids target synthetic drugs across US
WASHINGTON - The federal government is widening its crackdown on the makers and sellers of synthetic drugs.
Federal agents today have been serving hundreds of search and arrest warrants in at least 25 states, at homes, warehouses and smoke shops. The largest single operation was a statewide effort in Alabama.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been cracking down on the drugs -- including so-called bath salts, spice and Molly -- since they first gained widespread popularity years ago. In late 2010, the government moved to ban five chemicals that were used to make synthetic marijuana blends. But drug makers have modified their formulas and developed new chemical mixtures.
There's increasing concern about where the money spent on those drugs is going, and whether it's being used by criminal and terrorist groups in the Middle East. Investigators say they've tracked hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds being sent to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.