Law enforcement agencies seem to have a thing for giving big operations awesome sounding names. Take, for instance, Operation Log Jam, which, according to the DEA, resulted in the arrest of over 90 individuals and the seizure of more than five million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs across the country.
At a press conference this morning at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia officials announced the results of what's being billed as the "first-ever nationwide law-enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry." According to tallies released as part of this morning's announcement, Operation Log Jam netted a substantial haul. Authorities say "more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (ex. bath salts), and the products to produce an additional 392,000 were seized."
Operation Log Jam, which included activity in Vancouver, Wash. and Tigard, Ore., is being hyped as a team effort.
From a DEA press release:
Operation Log Jam was conducted jointly by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as countless state and local law enforcement members in more than 109 U.S. cities and targeted every level of the synthetic designer drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
"Although tremendous progress has been made in legislating and scheduling these dangerous substances, this enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative, and investigative tool at our disposal."
Locally, KATU reports that the two locations raided Wednesday in Vancouver and Tigard belong to Joshua Becker, who is currently being held in Multnomah County Jail, but will soon be headed to Idaho where he's wanted for distribution of synthetic drugs.
According to KATU's report:
One of the raids was at a warehouse on Northeast 76th Avenue in Vancouver. A KATU reporter saw at least a half-dozen agents removing boxes from the building and putting them in a truck.
The agents asked that we not shoot video or take pictures of their faces.
The second raid happened at Becker's home on Southwest Summerview Drive in Washington County near the Tigard city line.
Closer to home, while no raids were conducted in the Seattle area as part of Operation Log Jam, our area has been experienced a DEA crackdown on bath salts before. In June 2011, the DEA arrested Miguel Ashby after a months-long undercover investigation. DEA officials said Ashby was the supplier of vast quantities of bath salts that ended up in New York.