Authorities Make Largest Synthetic Marijuana Bust In Crenshaw Co. History

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By Catalina Trivino

From Crenshaw County --  a man is under arrest after deputies and state troopers say they found synthetic marijuana in his truck. Deputies say it's the largest bust of its kind in the county's history... and one of the largest in the state.

And you'd be surprised to hear who is buying that synthetic marijuana, better known as spice: a study by the University of Michigan shows more than 11 percent of high school seniors who've used drugs use synthetic marijuana. The District Attorney's Office says it's a drug that's caused problems in Crenshaw County.

"Obviously it's a problem in our area if someone like this can bring more than 15 pounds in and have a ready market for it. And that's why he was bringing it here... because there was a ready market for it in our area." District Attorney, Charlotte Tesmer is talking about the 516 bags of synthetic marijuana Crenshaw County deputies say they found in an SUV. They say the owner of it, Satishkumar Patel, was driving into Crenshaw County from Florida to make his delivery.

And investigators say they received a tip that the drugs were going to be distributed amongst high-school aged students in the area, totaling more than $100,000 in street value. But Tesmer says these shiny packages used to be sold in stores...

"For incense or for poupouri for us older folks, but not for human consumption. So they're really pretty packaging for this kind of substance... then at some point people started ingesting it," Said Tesmer.

When deputies made the traffic stop, "potpouri" is exactly what they were told was in the bag -- instead, investigators found nearly five kilos of synthetic marijuana. Ten different kinds, totaling about 4,800 grams.

Investigator, Ashley Paul, says he's glad they busted this delivery before the drugs reached teens in the area.

"We had information that this drug is affecting high school students, kids all around... especially in Crenshaw County and we're going to do out best as deputies and support Crenshaw County to arrest each and every one that's involved in this: bringing this illegal substance into our county," Said Paul.

Patel is facing felony charges on Trafficking a Controlled Substance Analog, which means he'll face a minimum of 15 years behind bars and a fine of about $250,000 if he's convicted.

Deputies say they also found about $2,000 on Patel. Alabama News Network will keep you updated on any developing information in this bust.