Batavia, Brockport, Greece, Henrietta, N.Y. --- Raids across Western New York on Wednesday were part of a coordinated nationwide crackdown on synthetic or designer drugs. Some of the substances only became illegal at the federal level earlier this month.
"This operation is the first nationwide coordinated U.S. law enforcement strike specifically targeting designer synthetic drugs," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said at a press conference in Virginia on Thursday announcing "Operation Log Jam."
Nationwide the raids netted 91 arrests in 30 states and resulted in the seizure of $36 million in cash, $6 million in assets, and 53 weapons according to the DEA.
Locally raids in Western and Central New York appeared focused on a specific chain of smoke shops called “420 Emporium” as well as a warehouse in the Buffalo area that could be a suspected distribution center.
“420 Emporium” shops in Fulton, Syracuse, Henrietta, Brockport, and Batavia were all raided by New York State Police and DEA agents Wednesday morning. Additionally, a home on West Hill Estates in Greece was raided and agents could be seen removing a large clear trash bag full of cash as well as other computers and technology equipment.
“420 Emporium” Owner
The owner of this chain according to local and federal documents is a Charles Fitzgerald who 13WHAM News encountered late Wednesday evening outside his Brockport store location. Fitzgerald reopened his businesses and while not wishing to offer a specific comment he insisted to 13WHAM News that he did nothing wrong.