DEA crackdown reveals synthetic drug boom - KCTV5

DEA crackdown reveals synthetic drug boom

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OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

Synthetic drugs are becoming a big problem.

Hundreds of thousands of synthetic drugs have been rounded up in the latest nationwide crackdown. In 29 states, 150 people were arrested after a four-month investigation. That includes Kansas and Missouri.

Tracy Picanso, 58, of Olathe, KS, and 46-year-old Christopher Freemeyer of Adrian, MO, are just two of those arrested in a nationwide DEA crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers and wholesalers.

The two were allegedly part of a group using an Olathe-based business as a front, as well as others around the metro, as part of their scheme. The group was racking up sales of $16 million in illegal drug sales over the past two years.

According to Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chief of toxicology at Children's Mercy Hospital, part of the problem with catching the bad guys is their ingenuity when it comes to synthetic drugs.

"Largely because it changes over time, so one thing gets used and law enforcement finds out about that one and then those who manufacture it just change the structure a little bit so they have to keep up with it," Lowry said.

It's a problem not only for law enforcement, but also users who have no idea what they're really ingesting.

"What is sold on the street is said ‘This is going to be Molly' and or methamphetamines and invariably it's not. It's going to be something else and it's going to be dangerous," Lowry said.

Authorities continue their search for the next big thing one dealer or drug ring at a time.

Police also seized hundreds of kilos of synthetic products used to make the drugs and more than $20 million in cash.

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