Four Waterloo businesses searched for synthetic drugs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Four Waterloo businesses searched for synthetic drugs

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The Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed nearly 375 search warrants in 35 states and five countries Wednesday in the search for synthetic drugs -- including Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed nearly 375 search warrants in 35 states and five countries Wednesday in the search for synthetic drugs -- including Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed nearly 375 search warrants in 35 states and five countries Wednesday in the search for synthetic drugs -- including Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

"It appears as if it was a very fruitful, successful investigation," said Dan Trelka, Director of Safety Services in Waterloo.

Trelka said four different businesses in Waterloo were searched for synthetic drugs. He wouldn't name them, saying it was an ongoing investigation.

Back in February, KWWL showed you how easy it was to by synthetic drugs in Waterloo.

Doug, a self-admitted drug addict, went into the store to see what he could come out with. A few minutes later he came back with some "Blue."

"It's the young people out there that's taking this stuff home, destroying their selves and their families, killing their selves," said Doug in a February interview.

Trelka said police issued one warrant because they had probable cause that synthetic drugs were being sold in one business.

The other three businesses were consent searches, meaning the owner gave police permission to search the property.

Designer synthetic drugs are often marketed as herbal incense, bath salts, jewelry cleaner or plant food.

That's why Trelka said it's tough to get it off the streets.

"What's so interesting about this particular criminal activity is how it evolves -- how they change the chemical component of the problem substance," Trelka said. "And Iowa has been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with their laws to address it."

The nationwide raids done on Wednesday were part of a task force called Project Synergy, which began last December. Since then, more than $15 million in cash has been seized.

As for the Waterloo businesses searched Wednesday, no one has been arrested thus far.

"They will go through the information and take what they need to run it through the federal process and ultimately go to a federal grand jury and start issuing indictments," said Trelka.

Waterloo wasn't the only city in Iowa with businesses searched on Wednesday. Sixteen places were searched in Cedar Rapids and two were searched in Iowa City.

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