Published: Oct 08, 2013 12:21 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 08, 2013 10:07 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The Lee County Sheriff's Office conducted a synthetic marijuana sting at several locations across Lee County. There have been several arrests made in connection with the sale of synthetic marijuana.  

An undercover operation by the Lee County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit netted several local dealers of synthetic marijuana, commonly known as "Spice."  

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Spice" is an herbal mixture that produces experiences similar to marijuana and is marketed as a safe alternative to that drug. Last December Florida's Attorney General issued an emergency order to get "Spice" off store shelves.

For "Operation: Synthetic Buzz Kill" undercover detectives visited two dozen Lee County businesses and found five that were selling "Spice."  The takedown has so far culminated in eight arrests and the confiscation of more than 17,000 (seventeen thousand) packets of illegal drugs with a street value of more than one million dollars.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," says Sheriff Mike Scott, who adds that the Operation is on-going and that more arrests are pending.  Scott says the Sheriff's Office will continue a "no nonsense, hardcore approach" to getting "Spice" off the store shelves and off the streets of Lee County.

The five businesses caught selling "Spice" are:

*Sunoco at 3006 Palm Beach Boulevard

*Shell Station at 18080 S. Tamiami Trail

*San Carlos Grocery at 18011 S. Tamiami Trail

*Marathon at 1490 Lee Boulevard

*Sunoco at 8671 Littleton Road

Sheriff Scott says the businesses had fair warning noting that deputies had previously hand delivered letters to stores stating that synthetic marijuana was illegal to possess and sell.  "I feel like we're getting some traction on this issue" says the Sheriff who adds that Narcotics detectives will "stay on top of the situation."

Unfortunately, "Spice" is being targeted at our children as well; some of it wrapped in packaging that reads "Scooby Snacks."  "Parents need to look at what their kids may or may not have," says the Sheriff.  "This stuff is poison."

Arrested as of this afternoon are:

Ashok Varshney, DOB 4-1-47, of 13288 Little Gem Circle, Fort Myers

Rajesh Patel, DOB 5-15-61, Tampa

Munaf Rashid, DOB 7-3-65, of 17 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral

Roxane Rashid, DOB 3-12-64, of 17 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral

Nilufar Lila, DOB 7-27-71, of Omni Lane, Fort Myers

Mohammed Islam, DOB 1-1-80, of 8711 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers

Morshed Khan, DOB 10-10-71, of 2021 River Reach Drive #321, Naples

Tamanna Khan, DOB 6-5-83, of 2021 River Reach Drive #321, Naples

Sheriff Scott encourages other businesses that may be selling "Spice" to get it off their shelves immediately or suffer the consequences.