10 arrested in smoke shop raids

Shops raided, suspected of selling illegal drugs

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas - The Friendswood Police Department raided five businesses Thursday and arrested ten employees suspected of selling synthetic drugs banned in Texas.

"We are sending a message to all of the smoke shops out there," said Friendswood Police Chief Robert Wieners.

Police believed the stores, based primarily in southeast Houston and Harris County, were selling products very similar, if not the same, as bath salts but in different packaging.

Nine employees at various smoke shops and the store owner of "Bizarre Bazaar" on the Gulf Freeway near Beltway 8 are charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, the same charge that would be levied against someone in possession of cocaine, the chief said.

Police officers from Friendswood, the Houston Police Department, and Webster Police Departments participated in the simultaneous raids Thursday.

Undercover officers with the Friendswood Police Department had bought some of the suspected illegal products several weeks ago, the chief said.

Lab rests revealed that some of those products contained the same banned chemical found in bath salts, the chief said.

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