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Lehigh Valley

Lehigh and Montgomery county authorities arrest 15 in synthetic drug bust

Bi-county drug ring busted

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Police are calling it "operation bowls, bongs and beyond." They say they've busted up a big synthetic drug ring.

Fifteen people have been arrested. Investigators say the whole thing was centered in Allentown.

In a year-long investigation, Montgomery and Lehigh County law enforcement officials worked together to bust the drug ring that, they say, used gas stations and convenience stores to sell synthetic drugs.

"This is a huge profitable business and people are in it for the money," said Montgomery County D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman.

Montgomery and Lehigh County investigators say Kenneth Grossman was the front man in a 15-person bi-county and multi-state synthetic drug ring, which included selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

"One reason so troubling is these items are packaged in a way to appeal to young people," Ferman went on to say.

Police say Grossman used his Allentown distribution center to house hoards of drug paraphernalia which included bongs and hollowed out cans, which were then shipped to local gas stations and convenience stores.

All this happening police say near a drug-free school zone. According to investigators, Grossman also owned a subsidiary company in Delaware.

That's where police say the illegal narcotics including bath salts were shipped. The same kind of drugs Lehigh County D.A Jim Martin said led to a man being murdered last year.

"Hopefully they will get the message and understand we will prosecute and investigate vigorously, profits will be seized by law enforcement purposes if they continue to sell and distribute items," Martin said.

Investigators say two tractor trailer full of items at the Allentown location were seized, as well as close to a million dollars in cash.

At Grossman's Allentown home police say they plucked over 500 synthetic marijuana packets.

Grossman and his son were just two of the 15 taken into custody Thursday.

In August of 2011 Pennsylvania passed the law making synthetic drugs illegal.

Investigators say Grossman started his Delaware business later that fall. He's due back in court September 13.

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