36 arrested during synthetic marijuana operation

More than $400,000 worth of “spice” was seized as a result of recent investigations conducted by the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office.

Spice, or synthetic marijuana, has become an growing problem in the area over the past several years, according to Sheriff David Gee, who briefed the media Friday morning. According to Gee, 36 arrests were made in total, resulting in 61 felony charges.

During the operation, two major investigations took place. The first, which occurred near the University of South Florida, saw the confiscation of 150 pounds, or approximately 7,200 packages, of spice, with an estimated street value of $352,000. Additionally, 222 pounds of Damiana leaves, which are often used to manufacture spice, were found alongside, $10,500 in cash.

The second investigation saw the seizure of 92 pounds worth of synthetic marijuana from a spice manufacturing operation. Detectives also confiscated multiple containers of chemicals that are traditionally used to manufacture and package spice. The drugs on site were estimated to have a street value of approximately $87,500.

The investigations were done in coordination with the State Attorney’s Office, which assisted with operations and search warrants. Additional assistance was provided by the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.