Oklahoma Enters Uncharted Drug War Territory

Friday, April 12th 2013, 8:59 pm
By: News 9

Police in Oklahoma are dealing with uncharted territory when it comes to the war of drugs.

It's a dilemma for officers across the country. At issue -- synthetic marijuana. Officials are finding it difficult to determine what is illegal.

Along Interstate 35 Thursday, Norman Police carted off thousands of packets. Officers say the substance is worth $400,000, but they are not sure exactly what was seized.

"In our history, it's tops as far as the synthetic controlled substances is concerned," Capt. Tom Easley with Norman Police said.

Individual packets, numbering nearly 14,000 and weighing in at 191 pounds were taken. It's all being analyzed by the OSBI. Police suspect it's a form of marijuana.

"We did not arrest the driver," said Easley. "We erred on the side of caution."

4/12/2013 Related Story: Police Seize About 14K Packages Of Suspected Synthetic Drugs In Norman

On Thursday afternoon, Norman Police pulled over a minivan along I-35 after police witnessed multiple traffic violations. The suspect was driving from Dallas to Kansas City. Police searched the van because they say the driver seemed suspicious.

"I don't know if he was high or not because then he would have a charge on him for sure," Easley said.

Police admit Norman is becoming the poster child for synthetic marijuana ever since a high-profile drug bust at an aroma therapy shop in downtown Norman last month. Police say customers were buying the substances exclusively to get high, which is where the line is drawn in Oklahoma.

"If the synthetic substance has the same effect upon you as a controlled substance, then that synthetic substance is also controlled," Easley said, referring to state law. "A lot of people think they're getting away with it. We shall see whether they get away with this one or not."

If the OSBI determines that the substance found in the minivan is an illegal drug, an arrest warrant for the suspect will be issued.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics tells News 9 about 200 types of synthetic drugs were outlawed in Oklahoma over the past three years.