A large amount of alleged synthetic marijuana was confiscated from a downtown store Friday afternoon during the execution of a search warrant.
The drug, also known as herbal incense, spice and K2, was discovered at Zig Stag, 20 E. Market St., where it allegedly had been sold, according to a release from the Seneca County Drug Task Force - METRICH Enforcement Unit.
There, law enforcement officials from METRICH, the Attorney General's Office, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, the Narcotics Division of Northwest Ohio, the Ohio Taxation Department, the Tiffin Police Department and the Seneca County Sheriff's Office also confiscated drug paraphernalia, money and financial records.
According to the release, the owner of the store, Shawn G. Stagnolia, 35, faces charges of trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, aggravated funding of drugs, corrupting another with drugs, permitting drug abuse, abusing harmful intoxicants, tax violations and money laundering, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
METRICH Unit Coordinator Chuck Boyer said store employees also could face charges.
Attempts to reach Stagnolia Friday night were unsuccessful.
Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens said the police department and the sheriff's office had been called to the hospital several times in reference to K2 overdoses, and a year-long investigation led to the execution of the search warrant.
According to the release, the law enforcement agencies also had been receiving complaints of young adults and juveniles abusing the drug.
"We noticed a very large influx of complaints, overdoses and law enforcement submissions or seizures of the herbal incense. Through our investigation, we found that the Zig Stag Store was one of the main suppliers of the substance in our community," said Boyer in the release.
Boyer said K2 can cause serious side effects that require hospitalization, including seizures and hallucinations.
"It's a chemical that's a lot worse than marijuana," he said. "There's a lot more damaging effects affiliated with it."
Boyer said a chemical that is sprayed on vegetation causes the sometimes violent hallucinations and is what makes the drug illegal.
He said law enforcement officials are unaware of any other stores in Tiffin selling the synthetic marijuana.
Jeff Cook from the attorney general's office was at the execution of the search warrant Friday. He said investigators from the office have had a big push from the attorney general to assist local law enforcement agencies in combating synthetic drugs.
He said METRICH had contacted the office for assistance in the Zig Stag investigation.
According to a release from the attorney general's office, a search warrant also was conducted Friday at a store in Ashtabula County. There, synthetic marijuana under the names of "Scooby Snax" "Caution" and "Down2Earth" were confiscated.
According to the release, the alleged synthetic marijuana sold at Zig Stag was sold under the names of "Shpark in the Dark," "Lotto" and "Atomic." "Parents should be extremely aware of these substances, not only being sold in local stores but also on the internet," said TAG Law Enforcement Task Force Supervisor Lt. Jeff Orr in the release. "The words 'Not for Human Consumption' being clearly marked on most packets is not a deterrent to our kids, who are risking their lives every time they use it."