Reporting Meghan McCorkell
FOREST HILL, Md. (WJZ) — Police in Harford County bust a multi-million dollar drug operation being run out of a Forest Hill home.
Investigators say the 27-year-old was making synthetic marijuana, known as “spice.” Its effects can be deadly.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the unusual case.
Sheriff’s officials say they confiscated enough of that dangerous drug to fill a white box truck. But at this point, they’re not sure if it’s illegal.
In a quiet, upscale Forest Hill neighborhood, police make a disturbing discovery: a full-scale distribution plant making spice, or synthetic marijuana.
“It looked like he had enough material in there to have about a $2 million profit if sold at street value,” said Cristie Kahler, Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Spice looks like pot, but it’s much more potent. When smoked, it can cause hallucinations, heart attacks and even brain damage. Michael Rozga’s son killed himself while high on spice.
“It takes away your sense of reality and puts you in such a terrible place that you’ll do anything to get away from it,” said Michael Rozga, victim’s father.
“This is a new era of drugs,” said drug abuse expert, Mike Gimbel.
Gimbel says this is the first “spice factory” busted in the region, but it won’t be the last.
“Believe me, if there’s one lab in Harford County, there are more chemists building labs somewhere in the region,” Gimbel said.
Spice is often marketed as something else like potpourri, incense and even glass cleaner. Police have a hard time busting spice labs because as chemicals are deemed illegal, drug makers find new ones.
“It’s like changing a family recipe. They can change one molecule in the ingredients and are now producing a whole new substance which is now legal,” said Gimbel.
The latest haul has now been sent to the DEA to see if illegal chemicals were used.
That DEA testing is expected to take about two weeks.
That 27-year-old man is also facing misdemeanor weapons and drug charges.