Six people stand accused of selling synthetic marijuana and one is accused of selling other toxic substances, at five shops along the Boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey and one shop in nearby Rio Grande, following a joint investigation. State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor today announced the filing of criminal charges against the six individuals.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office arrested the suspects yesterday at the stores in which they allegedly sold the substances. Prosecutor’s office investigators also seized nearly 1,600 packets of suspected synthetic marijuana or other toxic chemicals having an estimated retail value of $160,000, as well as $121,000 in cash, numerous items deemed to be drug paraphernalia, and 11 firearms, at five of the stores in which the suspects were arrested and at one additional Wildwood shop.

The arrests are the result of a joint undercover investigation, conducted in June by the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau in partnership with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office. Each of the suspects allegedly sold packets of synthetic marijuana or other toxic chemicals, with labels including “K2,”  “Rehab,” and “Jersey Shore,” to undercover investigators. They allegedly told the investigators that smoking the substances would result in a marijuana-like high.

"We will take aggressive action in all instances where people continue to ignore our ban on these dangerous substances," says Chiesa. "Before we made New Jersey the fourth state to outlaw all variants of synthetic marijuana, dealers got away with selling these chemicals, which mimic the effects of marijuana but which had not been specifically classified as illegal. That game is now over, and I commend the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office and the Division of Consumer Affairs for their collaborative operation."

Suspected drug packets sold at five of the stores tested positive for one or more variants of synthetic marijuana – none of which were subject to a Federal or State ban until the State Division of Consumer Affairs in February 2012 made New Jersey the fourth state to comprehensively ban all variants of synthetic marijuana. The chemicals are subject to the same level of control as cocaine or heroin. Distribution, sale or possession is a third-degree crime, subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a three- to five-year term.