MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police discovered thousands of packets of illegal synthetic marijuana, or K2, after raiding three southside Milwaukee gas stations.Search warrants show the raid was the result of an undercover investigation.
K2 is a combination of herbs and chemicals, with similar effects of marijuana. Up until last year, gas stations in Milwaukee could sell it legally over the counter, but now, Milwaukee, like many cities across the state, has voted to ban it. Police records show not all gas stations have stopped selling it.
Those who live and work near the Petro Mart on S. 5th St. and Chase Ave. noticed the police presence Wednesday morning. FOX6's cameras were rolling as one man was arrested, and police carried out evidence in paper bags. "Having the type of behavior that's happening at a gas station isn't really helping us make a change in the neighborhood," Alisha Bouchard who works near the Petro Mart said.
According to search warrants, police seized about 1,700 grams of illegal K2 from the Petro Mart. That same morning, police seized 130 grams of K2 from the Best Petro on 6th and Becher, and nearly 3,000 grams from the Petro Mart on Mitchell and 14th. "It disappoints me that a lot of businesses would partake in this, knowing that it's illegal," District 12 Alderman Jim Witkowiak said. One of the gas stations raided is in Witkowiak's district. "I'm really pleased with the work of the Milwaukee Police Department, and everybody involved in this, and I hope they continue to pursue all leads and go after anybody that's selling in the city," Witkowiak said.
Police records show an undercover investigation led to the busts. At at least one store, K2 wasn't on display, but undercover officers were able to buy it over the counter.
As part of the bust, police also seized more than 50,000 grams of synthetic marijuana from a residence on 92nd and Beloit.
Alderman Witkowiak says he hopes the raids send a message to other businesses, and to the customers. "What I think most people don't understand is this stuff is a lot more dangerous than marijuana because of its chemical content," Witkowiak said.
The owners of the businesses were arrested, but no charges have been filed yet. Possible charges could be possession of a controlled substance, and intent to deliver.