Gov. Bentley: Synthetic drugs seized from 10 Ala. counties - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Gov. Bentley: Synthetic drugs seized from 10 Ala. counties

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Gov. Bentley speaks at a news conference on Operation Red Tide, a statewide crackdown on synthetic drugs. Gov. Bentley speaks at a news conference on Operation Red Tide, a statewide crackdown on synthetic drugs.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier
MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) -

A total of 35 state, local and federal agencies joined forces to crack down on synthetic drugs in 10 Alabama counties, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday in a press conference about "Operation Red Tide."

Those counties are: Dallas, DeKalb, Etowah, Houston, Jefferson, Lee, Madison, Montgomery, Morgan and Shelby.

The statewide operation is part of a national effort to combat synthetic drugs called "Project Synergy."

As of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities had served 28 search warrants, arrested 38 suspects and seized 200 pounds of synthetic drugs, $500,000 in cash and bank accounts and 19 guns in the state, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier announced.

Gov. Bentley said that Alabama is ahead of the rest of the country in designing legistlature to combat synthetic drugs.

"Alabamians should be aware that synthetic drugs are dangerous of their health, and as governor, I will do everything I can to rid Alabama of these drugs," Bentley said.

The governor said he met with two families in 2011 who lost children to synthetic marijuana, commonly called "spice." He said spice, which is marketed to be similar to marijuana, often has the opposite effect on users, including a racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure and anxiety attacks.

"Spice is a growing scourge, a poison. One in nine high school students use spice. It causes overdose, it causes paranoid delusions, it causes schizophrenia and it kills people" Keith Brown with the Drug Enforcement Agency said.

Brown called Operation Red Tide a successful, safe operation with no injuries.

SLIDESHOW: Operation Red Tide

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls said his office assisted in obtaining search warrants and arrest warrants leading up to Wednesday's operation. He said the investigation will continue, and DAs will look into prosecuting the cases on a county and possibly federal level.

Barry Matson with the Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force said there are more than 200 recipes for synthetic drugs that are now illegal in Alabama. He said the drugs are often manufactured overseas in "less than ideal" conditions and come to Alabama through criminal means.

"It's our job to do this, to protect Alabama. This is really about the kids that have been lost, the communities that have been damaged," Matson said.

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