In recent weeks, law enforcement agencies throughout New York State have been targeting businesses suspected of selling bath salts and other synthetic drugs. Wednesday, that effort arrived in Oswego as police raided five different city businesses, searching for drugs and paraphernalia. Our Candace Hopkins has more.
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Wednesday afternoon, police officers carried seized material out of Bodified in downtown Oswego after executing a search warrant looking for bath salts and synthetic marijuana.
"Those are the two most dangerous substances right now that we want to hurry up and get off the streets as quickly as possible," said Oswego Police Chief Tory DeCaire.
In order to be successful, police say they have to shut off the supply and using the element of surprise was key, as they hit five different stores at once.
"We didn't want to tip our hand and focus on any one particular business. We wanted to make sure we were covering all of our bases. If those substances were out there, we'd get them all off in one fell swoop," said Chief DeCaire.
Police have not said if any bath salts or synthetic marijuana were found at any of the five businesses, but Chief DeCaire says their use in the community has skyrocketed.
"We have seen an increase, a significant increase, in the amount of calls involving the use of synthetic drugs. We have seen ambulance calls, we have seen mental health calls and our officers are dealing with it on a daily basis," he said.
Chief DeCaire says it was recently passed state legislation, created by the Department of Health, that finally gave his department the power to go after the suppliers of these drugs and the users themselves, by expanding the list of substances considered synthetic drugs, and increasing criminal penalties.
"We can actually take people into custody who are either using, selling, possessing synthetic drugs and the public health law actually spells out what they are going to be classifying as synthetic drug," said DeCaire.
After the raids several store employees were held for questioning, while police began sorting through the seized materials.