LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Only on WINK, we got an exclusive look at how detectives use field test kits to determine if a substance contains illegal chemical compounds making up synthetic marijuana, known as spice.
Deputies raided five convenience stores across the county on Tuesday and seized a million dollars worth of illegal synthetic marijuana. The substance has very dangerous side effects, according to authorities, including halucinations.
The department just got the field test kits a few months ago, and Special Investigations Commander Matt LeClair says it was a huge assest to this six-month long investigation.
He says, "these test kits give us probable cause for a search warrant. If we didn't have a test kit, we'd have to send it to the lab at FDLE and their lab is quite busy with hundreds, even thousands of cases."
The process is quick and easy. After making an undercover buy, detectives run the test. They put some of the substance in question into a pouch and insert a paper strip. After about 30 seconds, that strip goes into another pouch filled with liquid. If the strip turns yellow or orange, it contains illegal chemicals.
LeClair says changes in the law in the past year have made many more substances illegal. "With an additional 22 chemical compounds now added to the law, just about all packets test positive."
Sheriff Mike Scott also says he's looking at a partnership with the Florida Lottery to possibly suspend or revoke lottery sales at the businesses that are selling the illegal drugs.
The sheriff's office warned all businesses with certified letters that selling the substance was illegal, but some continued to do it anyway.
Just today, four new chemical compounds were added to the illegal list.