Huge Central Florida drug bust keeps thousands of dollars worth of fake pot off Tampa streets
8:40 PM, Sep 17, 2013
1:33 AM, Sep 18, 2013
TAMPA - It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Tampa to the old donut shop on SW Highway 484 in Dunenellon.
But a neighbor got curious with all the traffic coming in and out of the store.
When she saw three guys scurrying about with no signs of sugar or flour, but instead evidence of spice and K2, she let local law enforcement know.
"She didn't want to leave her name of anything like that," said Maj. Tommy Bibb of the Marion Co Sheriff's Office.
"But she did say if you wanna act on it you're gonna need to do it now, because they're loading up and fix in to leave."
So Monday night, Marion County and Ocala officers got a first-hand, up-close-and-in-person look at what's been plaguing Bay Area cops for months as an old bakery turned fake-weed factory was uncovered and taken apart.
As officers videotaped the inside of the operation before dismantling it, they described the scene. "OK. We're looking at finished product," said one officer as a pile of bagged packets was seen behind a pool table.
"This is all the packaging," said another off-camera voice. "This stuff is all over the place."
Then, as a camera panned across a line of huge plastic bins filled with a just-mixed-batch of dried leaves and food coloring, household chemicals and flavoring syrups, another voice came through.
"This is finished product. It's finished in flavors."
"And then over here," the voice continued, as the camera cut to an even larger bin of paler leaves. "This is the actual unfinished product This is raw, then they add the chemicals to it."
It took hours for investigators to clear out all the contraband and they still haven't even been able to catalog it all.
The suspects arrested, 27-year-old Ahmed Khaled Ahmad Warayart of Tampa, 36, year-old Ahmad Mohsin of Tampa and 47-year-old Fares Rabah -- whose driver's license listed an address in Texas -- are being held in the Marion County Jail with a first appearance before a judge set for Wednesday, on a variety of drug charges.
"This seizure right here is probably the biggest we've had in the county," said Maj. Bibb. "
Probably in excess of a half million dollars."
So the shipment of fake weed that was headed to Tampa won't make it this time.