A San Clemente smoke shop has been shut down by the city as its owner faces charges after an undercover investigation found illegal substances being sold there, authorities said.
Sheriff’s Department investigators, acting on a tip from a local resident, said they seized 106 grams of a synthetic stimulant known as “bath salts” during a May 29 raid at Tobacco & Accessories on the 2700 block of Via Cascadita. Agents said they also seized more than 2½ pounds of “spice,” a synthetic compound that mimics the effects of marijuana.
Deputies arrested store owner Eiad Diab, 38, on suspicion of the unlawful sale of synthetic stimulants and synthetic cannabinoid substances, both misdemeanors.
San Clemente City Hall said Tuesday that it revoked Diab’s business license after a June 29 hearing.
Sheriff’s Lt. John Coppock, chief of police services in San Clemente, said a south Orange County narcotics team had purchased bath salts from the business, secured a search warrant and found more of the drug on the premises.
Bath salts have raised alarm nationwide since last year. The drug, widely available on the Internet, has nothing to do with bubble-bath spa products but rather is a drug that can combine the nightmarish hallucinations of a bad LSD trip with the obsessive cravings of crack cocaine, health officials say.
“They are pretty dangerous,” Coppock said.
Bath salts may have been behind a notorious attack in Miami in which a man chewed the face off another, an emergency-room doctor suggested.
Diab said in May that he thought the chemicals identified as bath salts were for cleaning pipes. He said the packaging said something about bubbles and that some customers told him they used it in baths to invigorate their skin.
Staff writer Doug Irving contributed to this report.
By FRED SWEGLES/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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