Police seize 172 Pounds of ‘spice’ and suspect talks to WHAS11 News


by Adam Walser


Posted on January 30, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 30 at 8:21 PM

(WHAS11) -- Louisville Metro Police are calling it their largest bust yet, since all forms of synthetic drugs were made illegal in Kentucky late in 2012.

A suspect is accused of trafficking more than 172 pounds of what's known on the street as "spice".

Police believe the suspect is a major dealer in spice, which, up until recently, could be sold legally in smoke shops and other businesses.

The man who was charged told us he did nothing illegal.

Lawrence Bent denies he's a trafficker of synthetic marijuana, but does have knowledge of the Spice business.

Police say they found more than 172 pounds of synthetic marijuana, six pounds of an unknown white substance and several guns when they raided his Valley Station apartment.

Bent's sister and roommate were taken into custody at the time.

He was arrested later.

“That stuff there, according to the United States laws and stuff, was legal at that time, or when it was purchased,” Bent said. 

Until recently, only certain synthetic drugs were banned in Kentucky.

But that all changed in December, when a new law went into effect.

“We've been passing laws every session to try to catch up with the chemists as they change the make-up of the drug. And now we don't have to do that,” Gov. Steve Beshear, announcing the changes last month, said.

When asked about the white powder, Bent said, “That is the synthetic marijuana.”

He said the powder is mixed with a leafy substance to make the form that is smoked.

“This appears to be a drug of choice among young people,” Louisville Metro Police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said.

Mitchell says police are using the new law to crack down on spice suppliers, since the drug has become an increasing threat to young people.

Bent says producing it is as easy as simple as buying chemicals from overseas and using easy recipes.

“You get on the Internet. And find out how to make spice. Anybody can find that. It's on there,” he said.

The instructions we found on YouTube included ingredients like poisonous acetone.

“You're dealing with people who are not chemists, but are dealing in complex chemistry. So when you're dealing with those types of issues, those substances, you're putting in your body can have devastating effects,” Mitchell said.

Last month, we bought spice for $8 a gram from a local smoke shop.

At that price, the value of the goods seized from Bent's apartment was more than $625,000.