Police seize hundreds of pounds of Spice, precursors in 2-day bust

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 8 2012 6:50 p.m. MDT

Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department shows bags of bottled Spice ready for sale Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, that was seized in a string operation.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

TAYLORSVILLE — A two-day roundup of people suspected of being involved in a large-scale Spice manufacturing and distribution ring in Salt Lake County has resulted in the arrests of five people and the seizure of hundreds of pounds of the synthetic drug.

Multiple search warrants were served throughout the valley on Monday and Tuesday at homes where investigators believed Spice was being manufactured.

A two-month investigation culminated with warrants being served in West Valley City, Cottonwood Heights and Taylorsville, including one at a storage shed, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. Detectives discovered chemicals were being shipped to a Taylorsville UPS store and then taken to three homes to be made into Spice, packaged and distributed, he said.

UPS was unaware of the shipments. Investigators weren't willing Wednesday to identify the location from which they believed the precursors were being shipped.

The group was supplying smoke shops throughout the county with Spice, Hoyal said.

A full Spice lab was found at 1910 E. Fort Union Blvd. Nearly 500 pounds of finished product was seized along with more than 2,800 pounds of raw product — meaning the Spice was completed and only needed to be packaged. In addition, 2,200 pounds of Damiana, an herb native to Mexico mostly used as an aphrodisiac and a key ingredient in Spice, was seized.

Hoyal said thousands of spice containers and packaging materials, several pounds of precursor chemicals, three guns, two vehicles and about $5,000 in cash were also recovered.

KC Dickinson, 26, his mother, Sheri Dickinson, 48, Kevin Halper, 51, Emily Hollingshead, 22, and Amanda Wilson, 27, were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of drug distribution.

Hoyal said the busts will put a "big dent" in Spice distribution in Salt Lake County.

Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana, is sold under several other brand names, including Black Mamba, Black Magic, Warlock, Pep Spice, Bliss and Bombay Blue. It's an herbal mixture with a synthetic base, namely tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, or the psychoactive component of marijuana plants.

In 2011, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill outlawing the sale of Spice in Utah.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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