WEATHERFORD—Two men are charged with selling K2 out of their Parker County tobacco shop. Law enforcement seized 890 bags of the synthetic marijuana. Francisco Uduwarage, the owner of the Tobacco N More store, and Sanka Welihinda, the store clerk, are under arrest for selling the drugs.
Sept 1, 2011, K2 and Bath Salts become illegal in Texas. Just weeks ago, we told you about the problems law enforcement is having enforcing the ban. Still, with this raid in Parker County, the sheriff's department shows it is fighting synthetic drugs.
He says the fight against synthetic drugs is a difficult one, even though they're illegal. In 2011, lawmakers banned the drugs by banning the chemicals used to make them, but it didn't stop there.
"So, a compound becomes illegal on a designer drug, and then the chemists simply change the compound," said State Rep Phil King (R).
"Obviously, we're behind the curve, and it's disheartening to say the least," said Fowler.
To enforce the law, deputies have to send of the drugs for a test, to see if they include the banned chemicals.
That's exactly what happened at the Tobacco N More. An undercover deputy bought the synthetic marijuana and sent it to be tested. Those tests came back positive.
"They've heard all the pressure that's been put on smoke shops here locally, but they were still doing it in hiding," said Darren Donaldson.
Donaldson, has been working as a community advocate to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs. He says, when he heard about the raid, he was ecstatic.
"I feel like doing a backflip and I hope it continues in Parker County," said Donaldson.
Sunday, the store was still shut down, and it will likely stay that way. Investigators say the owners made at least 95% of their profit on K2 sales.
"It's all about the dollar. They don't care about what's going on, they think they're good enough to hide it," said Donaldson.
Investigators say the two men admitted they knew it was illegal to sell the drugs, but that they made about $3,000 a day doing it.
They've been getting away with legal drug dealing for so long, it's time to just put them out of business," said Donaldson.
Investigators have been looking in to Parker County smoke shops since the synthetic drugs were banned. Sunday, we asked Sheriff Fowler over the phone if there will be more smoke shops raided, and he said "as fast as they open them and start down that road, we'll look in to them."