Polk Sheriff makes good on warning: 12 arrests for K2 sales

9:15 PM, Nov 18, 2010   |    comments
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Winter haven, Florida- Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd sends out the warning, "If you don't want to be on this board for K2, don't sell it." Last month the sheriff warned retailers not to sell K2 type products. Today 12 store clerks and owners are under arrest and a warrant for one more.

"Unfortunately few stores did not believe me when I said we would arrest you if you sold K2. Folks let me tell you Mr. Nice Guy is no more," says Judd.

Packaged in bright colored packets the dried herbs inside are laced with a synthetic form of THC the active ingredient in marijuana.

Watch: a Ten News Extra on K2.

Judd says the potency is up to 100 times stronger than the natural plant and the effects vary from hallucinations to death. Despite warnings the incense is smoked. It's called the new "legal high."

"The reason for the warning to keep children safe," explains Judd.

Undercover detectives found 9 convenience stores selling the K2 type products. Sheriff Judd says 3 stores sold to minors, but Judd says it's the Grab and Go Food Mart in Eagle Lake that sold only to kids, there's a high school nearby.

Judd is enforcing a state law banning the sale of products mimicking a controlled substance. Despite legal critics, Judd says his cases are solid. He consulted the State Attorney's office. Judd says, "There's not only probable cause beyond any exclusion of every reasonable doubt. They sold this product as an imitation of a controlled substance and that's a violation of law."

Judd's warning did reach 256 stores out of the 268 checked. When undercover detectives asked to make a buy one clerk is heard say on tape they did not sell it anymore because Judd made it illegal.

Judd says these arrests are not the end of it, undercover deputies will continue checking stores. Judd adds legislators in Tallahassee are drawing up a bill to ban K2 type products in Florida. So far, 9 states have banned it and several more are considering it.

Isabel Mascarenas

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