|Updated: 5/09/2013 6:39 pm
||Published: 5/07/2013 11:05 pm
Cherokee county law enforcement says they’re winning the war on fake marijuana.
Officers say they can barely find synthetic pot on store shelves.
FOX23 news was the only one at the Outer Zone smoke shop both times the District Attorney’s served search warrants.
However, now the owner has decided to leave. Everything is gone inside the door except an employees only sign hanging up in the back.
“The past several months we’ve really tried to crack down on the availability of K2,” said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault. He’s worked with the District 27 District Attorney’s office, Tahlequah Police Department and Cherokee Nation Marshalls to fight back against the synthetic drugs coming into the county.
The District Attorney’s office served Outer Zone a search warrant in November. They seized the synthetic drugs and cash.
“They know we are out there,” said Chennault. “They know we’re looking for them, looking for the product.”
Deputies say two people have died from the synthetic drug use and numerous other people including teens have been hurt.
“It’s affecting them in ways we’ve never seen before,” Chennault said.
They’ve pursued what’s commonly known as fake pot so hard authorities say they can barely find it on shelves. Chennault says what they do find in stores hasn’t tested positive as a controlled dangerous substance.
Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King says the governor signing House Bill 2217 into law has helped them a lot.
“It’s scared them out of selling it,” King Said. “The benefit isn’t worth the risk anymore.”
It gives authorities more ground in court by better defining controlled dangerous substances.
“The past few years what we’ve been facing is every time. Oklahoma has banned a substance the chemist has found an analog or cousin chemical of that banned substance,” he said.
Parents appreciate the effort.
“It was a big issue to me because I do have a daughter with young kids they can be easily influenced,” said Jacob Warner, a father.
He’s lived down the street from the Outer Zone for the past year and didn’t like the crowd it drew. Warner is happy the business owners decided to move.
“I’m glad they’re not around here because I got my daughter,” he said.
“Things that hurt our children, things that hurt our community, we’re going to come together to enforce,” said King.
The District Attorney’s office says Outer Zone spent half a million dollars in the last year buying the fake pot.