Updated: 5 Arrested and Drugs Seized in Shelby Township K2 Crackdown
Cases of K2 found in a Sterling Heights warehouse.
Police and federal agents raided two businesses in Shelby Township suspected of selling K2 Wednesday morning and arrested five people, confiscated loads of the synthetic drug and forfeited thousands of dollars and several vehicles.
At about 6 a.m., police and Drug Enforcement Agency officers executed search warrants at the Citgo Gas Station on Van Dyke Avenue and 21 Mile Road and at Woodstock Tobacco, which is in the adjoining plaza.
Meanwhile, officers also searched the homes of the business owners in West Bloomfield and Sterling Heights.
K2, also known as Spice, which is an herbal incense or bath salt and contains synthetic marijuana, was found at the two businesses. Large quantities also were discovered at a storage unit in Sterling Heights.
Several vehicles and $20,000 in cash were taken from the homes and businesses in connection with the raid.
Although the substance was banned in Michigan on July 9, Police Chief Roland Woelkers said the gas station and the smoke shop, which is owned by relatives, continued to sell the drug.
The business owners and several of their employees were arrested Wednesday and remain locked up at the Shelby Township Police Department. Their names are not being released pending arraignment.
Woelkers said the exact charges are not known, but those arrested face felonies and could be looking at five to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
The investigation continues as Shelby works with federal agents to track down the K2 supplier. Woelkers said the synthetic drug usually comes from overseas and is hidden in warehouses around America.
Business Owners Targeted For Selling K2 Before It Was Illegal
This is not the first time the owners of the Citgo Gas Station and Woodstock Tobacco have been in hot water over the sale of K2.
“It was a kind of in-your-face thing,” Woelkers said. “They were quiet for a long time and then started again.”
In June, before K2 was outlawed, the community mobilized and held a rally at the businesses to put pressure on the owners to stop selling the drug in the community – after they had publically refused to pull it from their shelves. At the rally, the businesses owners vowed to stop selling the drug and to create a foundation that would educate the public about the dangers of the drugs, which can mimic highs from cocaine, marijuana and LSD.
A few weeks after the rally, Shelby Township and Macomb County passed ordinances banning the sale of K2 in the township and county. The following month, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a series of laws that outlawed the sale of K2, and any variation of the substance in the state.
However, police continued to receive multiple reports that K2 was still being sold at the gas station and smoke shop, especially to underage adults.
“There have been a lot of calls from concerned citizens about activities going on at the some shop and gas station and as you all know it takes a lot of investigation to finally get a search warrant,” Woelkers said.
Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the township will continue to aggressively investigate reports of K2 being sold in local businesses.
“If anyone sells K2 or a substance like K2, we’re coming after you and we’re going to get you,” he said.
Citgo Gas Station officials released a statement denouncing the sale of K2, stating it was prohibited under the marketer-franchise agreement.
“Should the sales of these substances at CITGO-branded locations occur, CITGO may take such action as it deems appropriate to protect its brand image, including debranding the location," the statement said.