Authorities seize dozens of bags of suspected spice

Posted at 6:54 PM, Sep 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-06 00:29:22-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- Authorities seizes dozens of bags of suspected spice during a raid on a smoke shop in South Salt Lake.

Agents with the Utah Attorney General's Secure Strike Force shut down the shop after receiving a tip. Last month, someone alerted authorities saying the smoke shop was not only distributing spice but selling it to minors.

"We opened an investigation at that time and subsequently were able to verify that they were selling spice, that they weren't ID-ing or taking ID's from anyone they were selling tobacco or spice to."

The owner of the shop, 23-year-old Ahmed Khafji, was arrested as well as Maryam Ghulman Sarwar, a relative who was working behind the counter. Both were booked for distribution of a controlled substance.

Police say spice means big money for the sellers as the packets sell for $20 a piece. But for user, spice can mean big problems.

"Probably the scariest thing about it, or what should be the scariest thing for people who use it is, it's very unpredictable," said Leo Lucey, Section Chief, Utah Attorney General's Office. You have no idea what potency of the drug is your taking, no idea where it was made or what they're putting in it."

Spice continues to be highly popular among young people, despite the fact it can cause seizures and brain aneurysms.