A federal raid in July of eight Tebb's Head Shop stores and affiliated warehouses and residences across the state, which included a store in Watertown, led to the seizure of several million dollars' worth of bath salt and synthetic marijuana products and contraband.
According to officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration, agents seized 50,000 packets of bath salt products labeled as glass cleaner, 70,000 packets of synthetic marijuana and about 15 kilograms of product that had not been packaged. Also seized were about $400,000 in U.S. currency and a collection of eight vehicles and a snowmobile with a trailer valued at approximately $350,000.
The raid of the Tebb's Head Shop in Watertown led to the seizure of $21,000, as well as 50 packets of bath salt products and 75 packets of synthetic marijuana.
The stores belonged to John E. Tebbetts III. Several emails and calls to a number listed for Mr. Tebbetts over the past two weeks have not been answered or returned. The federal raid also included Jets Wholesale, also owned by Mr. Tebbetts.
Bath salts and glass cleaner are slang terms for products classified as both synthetic cathinones and synthetic amphetamines often compared to cocaine and methamphetamine. The products are sold online and in a couple of local stores under a variety of names and are labeled “not for human consumption” to avoid federal regulators.
Synthetic marijuana is created by spraying common herbs with synthetic cannabinoids, which simulated the drug's effects. Use of the products has been linked with hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure.
The value of the unsold products could be as much as several million dollars.
At prices seen at the Watertown location in July, a single package of bath salts, labeled as glass cleaner, was sold for $20, with packs of three priced at $50. A package of synthetic marijuana, sold as “carefree potpourri,” went for $15.
In July, Mr. Tebbetts told the Times that his glass cleaner products were comparable to Windex, and sold so customers could clean glass pipes sold at the store, which he said were used to smoke tobacco. The explanation drew some skepticism from local anti-drug officials.
The federal raid also included three Tebb's Head Shop stores owned by Mr. Tebbetts in Maine. The raid there led to the seizure of about 3,800 packets of synthetic marijuana, along with hundreds of pills for products labeled as “Legal RX” and “Legal Bars.”
A DEA representative said federal charges against Mr. Tebbetts were being considered, but had not been filed.
Officials with the U.S. District Attorney's office were not able to comment on the raid, saying that their search warrant and return inventory was sealed.