APRIL 8, 2015

DEA takes down Arizona spice manufacturer

Agents seize 500 pounds of spice labeled “Headrush,” hydroponic marijuana, and $500,000 in drug proceeds

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PHOENIX – DEA Special Agents and Casa Grande Police Detectives arrest a spice manufacturer and distributor known for the local spice brand “Headrush.” Over 500 pounds of the synthetic cannabinoid was seized after Detectives purchased 1,000 packets of the illicit product during an undercover operation in Casa Grande. DEA Agents subsequently identified and dismantled a large manufacturing facility in Phoenix, where 1.2 tons of damiana leaf* was also discovered along with hydroponic marijuana.

The spice network sold primarily to Valley locations; however, DEA agents have identified New Mexico and California as additional destinations of the finished product. Three people were arrested during the course of the operation and nearly $500,000 in illicit proceeds was seized.

“DEA will continue to aggressively target drug traffickers who sell their poisons in our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman, “Spice dealers who target our youth cannot hide from the law. DEA Agents will pursue these criminals and bring them to justice.”

Phoenix resident Geoffrey Turner, the head of the manufacturing and distribution network, was arrested along with Ayad Bahrou and Renee Williams. The three subjects face a variety of state charges including drug possession, manufacturing, and transportation for sale.

“This operation initially began with a cooperative effort led by our agency, the Organized Crime Bureau of the Pinal County Attorney Office and the Casa Grande Alliance, a community based substance abuse prevention and education coalition, to address the issue of Spice and the impact it has made on the citizens of our community. We are proud to partner with the DEA and share in the success of this operation.” - Casa Grande Interim Director of Police Services Chris Vasquez.

* Damiana is a shrub native to Mexico, Central America and some parts of Texas. As an herbal tea, the leaf is a remedy for digestive issues, headaches and was historically used as an aphrodisiac. As a smoked leaf, it reportedly provides a cannabis-like “high.”

DEA Agents worked jointly with Detectives from Casa Grande PD and the Maricopa County Drug Suppression Task Force. This investigation will be presented to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for prosecutorial consideration.

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