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Kansas City Council works to stiffen penalties for synthetic drug sales

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Kansas City Council is considering stiffening penalties for selling synthetic drugs.

"The store owners are obviously not going to quit selling these because it's too much money for them, too lucrative," Sgt. Brad Dumit of the Kansas City Police Department said during a council committee meeting Wednesday.

The effort to strengthen the city's ordinances comes as the full scope of a major crackdown is revealed. About $12.5 million in synthetic drugs was seized including about $100,000 in Kansas City.

"Forty-two warrants were served in one day," Dumit said about the Kansas City portion of the crackdown. "We served six search warrants and about $10,000 were seized and about 9,500 grams of illegal narcotics were recovered."

The synthetic drugs are often sold as bath salts or incense. They are often created by what Dumit called "basement chemists," and he said they often can lead to serious health issues for users.

"It's a huge problem," he said. "I get calls every day from concerned parents, aunts, uncles. I get calls from other kids scared that my friends have been smoking this stuff."

The drugs are often placed next to cigarettes and smoking items in convenience and liquor stores and smoke shops.

"The store owners are obviously not going to quit selling these because it's too much money for them, too lucrative," Dumit said.

Councilman John Sharp said the council must do everything they can to stop the sales. He said it helps that officers can now do testing of the product in the field and determine whether it's illegal.

"These places that are selling this stuff better quit because enforcement is coming," he said.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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