Jackson Co. drug agents raid store for new pot alternative

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A new pot alternative is showing up on store shelves and Jackson County drug agents are out to get rid of it. The packets of herbs, sold as incense, could have the same kind of ingredients as spice, the synthetic marijuana just banned by the state.

The head of the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force said for months, tips have been coming in that BJ's Market in Pascagoula is selling more than sodas and potato chips. Agents said a raid  found an assortment of drug paraphernalia and something called "Potpourri" that seems to have replaced Spice for people looking to get high.

BJ's Market in Pascagoula got an unwelcome surprise from dozens of drug agents. Narcotics Task Force Commander Curtis Spiers and his team raided the store and here's what they found: Marijuana grinders, scales and crack pipes.

"You take the rose out, they stuff the end and stuff a crack rock in it, and smoke it through the other side," Spiers said about the crack pipe.

Drugs agents also seized loads of what they believe to be the latest version of  the synthetic marijuana called Potpourri. Spiers said the store was selling the stuff to his undercover officers as alternative to Spice, which is now illegal.

"We have video of the clerk telling our undercover officer how to smoke it and yes, they can smoke it and pass the drug test."

Spiers said he believes the Potpourri is Spice with a name change, but to be sure he's sending  these packets off to the state crime lab for testing. He said if ingredients don't exactly match up with Spice, it may be a long road to get state and local leaders to tweak the anti-Spice law."

"You are talking about hundreds, literally hundreds of different types of chemicals," Spiers said. "That's all they do is add one molecule or take one molecule away and it makes a totally different chemical, so that is the hurdle we face."

A hurdle law enforces said they will overcome to stay ahead of the drug game.

"Just like criminals find new ways to get around things, we are going to find ways to but their  butts in jail."

During this raid, law enforces arrested the store's clerk, Pass Christian man, 41-year-old Jon Nick Nguyen. He is charged with one count drug paraphernalia possession.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.