The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) completed its first-ever nationwide law enforcement action against drugmakers that allegedly produce illegal synthetic drugs including bath salts. Nine cities in Missouri, the most of any state involved in the raids other than Texas and New York, had businesses investigated Wednesday.
* Operation Log Jam was a joint operation by the DEA and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Agencies such as the IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service aided in the investigation.
* The Associated Press reports there were six arrests and more than 210,000 packets seized within the jurisdiction of the St. Louis office of the DEA. The St. Louis office covers Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and southern Illinois.
* In the same Midwestern region, officers seized $1.4 million in cash and four vehicles. Synthetic drugs known as "Spice," "Vanilla Sky" and bath salts are often sold in head shops, smoke shops and convenience stores.
* The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports one huge distributor of synthetic drugs was investigated in St. Charles, Mo. Although the office looked ordinary with a few computers, investigators found one storage area nearby with more than $1.5 million of product. Another storage area was in Overland, Mo., with more than $5 million of drugs.
* The business was discovered to be one of the largest distributors of illegal synthetic drugs in the Midwest. The small office was simply part of an Internet seller. The investigation is ongoing.
* In the St. Louis area alone, authorities seized more than 123,000 packets worth nearly $4.6 million. Around 7,000 pounds of raw material was found with more than $85,000. More than 25 locations allegedly doing business in the synthetic drug trade were brought to a halt.
* According to KOLR in Springfield, Mo., 20 search warrants were served in Missouri alone of the 236 nationwide. One store in Rolla and two places in Lebanon, both in central Missouri, were raided by authorities. Pleasure Zone in Rolla had more than nine pounds of synthetic drugs confiscated worth around $86,000.
* In total, more than 90 individuals were arrested and more than five million packets of designer synthetic drugs were seized by officers across the nation. Federal authorities took more than $36 million in cash among the raids in 109 cities.
* Synthetic drug use is on the rise nationwide. In 2010, poison control centers responded to 3,200 calls regarding synthetic drugs. A year later, the number more than quadrupled. Sixty percent of the victims were under the age of 25.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.