The Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies are serving hundreds of search and arrest warrants across the U.S. in a monthslong crackdown on those who make and distribute synthetic designer drugs.
DEA officials say agents are serving 150 arrest warrants and 375 search warrants and seizing bank accounts as part of the 7-month investigation. Agents say the drugs resulted in "tens of millions of dollars" in profits.
Two Upstate residents were served with warrants as part of the operation. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Steven Petty, 42, and his wife Sirena, 39, both of Gaffney were arrested Wednesday morning. They are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of a Schedule I Controls Substance.
A former employee of the Pettys', Jessica Weast, 27, of Ellenboro, NC, was also charged.
Investigators say the three were involved in businesses that operated in Gaffney and Shelby, N.C. Carousel Music and Smokers Edge were both operated by the Pettys.
All three face up to 20 years behind bars and a $1,000,000 fine.
In earlier raids, drug agents arrested 76 people and served 57 search warrants. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have previously seized more than 1,000 kilograms of drugs used in synthetic marijuana, bath salts and other substances that can mimic cocaine, LSD and other drugs.