Federal and local law enforcement agents
arrest not only dealers of
natural marijuana, they're targeting
the so called "synthetic pot" found
in some head shops. A large bust Wednesday
netted 18 suspects on San Antonio's northeast
side operating a statewide
drug ring selling hundreds of different
kinds of designer drugs.

DEA officials say Project Synergy is the largest
ever law enforcement strike against designer drugs.

Officers say synthetic pot is illegal because it's so dangerous
posing serious health risks to users.

"Abusing these designer drugs is like playing Russian roulette.
These drugs are deadly and a lot of these distributors are
targeting our youth," DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena said.

San Antonio Police chief Bill
McManus says there are several
hundred of designer drugs
being manufactured and those
synthetic substances are
a new front
in the war on drugs.

"Let me be clear," U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman said.  "This is not marijuana.  These are chemical substances that are, to the user, completely unknown and that pose potentially serious health risks."

Officials say taking synthetic marijuana is like putting a glass into a barrel of chemicals you find on the side of the road, and drinking it, having no idea what the material is.

"The key to this operation is the danger of this growing
problem of synthetic drugs and marijuana," said McManus.