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Police bust synthetic drug lab, confiscate more than 150 pounds

Las Vegas police busted a $5 million synthetic drug lab Thursday and confiscated more than 150 pounds of what was suspected to be narcotics.

Police said detectives discovered the “Spice” and “bath salts” early Thursday in a warehouse at 2761 N. Lamb Blvd., near Cheyenne Avenue in the northeast valley.

Several suspects were detained but released pending chemical analysis of the drugs.

Nevada legislators in February made it a felony to sell or possess “bath salts,” a dangerous street drug known to cause hallucinations and death. The drug has been compared to methamphetamine and cocaine, police said.

Although the drug was marketed and sold as “bath salts” in smoke shops and head shops, it had nothing to do with sweet-smelling soaps or lotions.

“Spice,” also known as synthetic marijuana, has been banned in Nevada since May. The federal government banned both drugs in 2010.

Because drug manufacturers frequently change their chemical recipes, police said it takes time to discover what is in the drugs they want to ban. And it can be difficult for police to keep up with the newest drug recipes on the market.

Should the substances in Thursday’s bust be banned under Nevada law, the suspects will face charges, police said.

Federal authorities also participated in the bust.

It was not the first major synthetic drug lab busted by local police.

In November, Las Vegas police discovered hundreds of pounds of “bath salts” and “Spice” being manufactured at a $30 million lab just west of the Strip.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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