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Caroline makes two spice busts

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

Caroline County narcotics detectives seized more than $13,000 worth of suspected synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice, at two convenience stores.

Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa said Monday that the investigation began after numerous tips from residents about clandestine sales of the substance.

Undercover purchases were conducted based on information that buyers would wait until there were no other customers in the stores and then asked for spice by a code name, Lippa said.

A number of these purchases were made before search warrants were obtained earlier this month.

A search of the Corbin Mart resulted in the seizure of $6,760 worth of suspected spice. Another $6,495 worth of the substance was taken from the Port Royal Supermarket. Other items seized by police included invoices and digital security videos, Lippa said.

The owner of the Port Royal Supermarket, 53-year-old Pirt Kang of Fredericksburg, and Corbin Mart employee Ip Kim, 58, of Woodford, are both charged with three counts of distributing synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana emerged legally about four years ago in the form of an herbal incense in the United States and was sold openly over the counters of convenience and tobacco shops.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency banned it in 2010, claiming its use led to an increase in emergency room visits by users suffering from a range of adverse reactions, including seizures, vomiting, hallucinations and paranoid behavior.

In Virginia, a bill introduced by former State Sen. Edd Houck of Spotsylvania County was passed, making the sale of it a crime.

Additional chemicals were added to the statute earlier this year after manufacturers changed the formulas to avoid the ban.

The sale of spice is a Class 6 felony, punishable by a prison term of between one and five years and a fine of up to $2,500.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419


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