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Deputies bust one of the largest spice rings in Hillsborough County history

525 pounds of synthetic marijuana seized
Posted at 6:42 PM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 02:43:36-04

HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla.— Investigators seized more than 500 pound of Spice in Hillsborough County. It's one of the largest synthetic marijuana busts in HCSO history.

An anonymous tip led to the month-long investigation. But investigators had no clue they’d find 525 pounds worth of Spice. The drug is not only dangerous to those consuming it, but also to the unsuspecting neighbors of where it was made.

Holding ready-to-ship boxes, deputies walked out of a home on Little Road in Valrico. Investigators believe a husband and wife duo rented the home for the sole purpose of manufacturing and selling Spice.

“It’s shocking because normally you don't suspect something like this in this kind of a neighborhood," said neighbor Olga Iris Morales.

Morales says this is especially worrisome because she lives off an oxygen tank.

“Yes of course, of course [it's worrisome] especially if it would be in the air," she said.

HCSO calls synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice and K2, one of the most dangerous drugs they see on the streets. That mixed with a variety of chemicals some even found in rat poison is so toxic their own people wore protective gear before touching it.

“These chemicals are dangerous," said Sheriff Chad Chronister, "These chemicals, some of them,  can be deadly if ingested in certain amounts. So how would you like to be the neighbor next to them?"

Investigators didn't just find the drug at the Little Road location. HCSO says Roger Wakim and Donya Hussein also kept it in a storage unit and another home in Plant City. The street value of it all is $500,000.

“We certainly saved Hillsborough County but there’s no doubt we probably saved some other individuals around the nation," said Chronister.

Investigators say the suspects may even have targeted the Little Road neighborhood before renting their would-be drug house for one reason.

“They do it in nicer neighborhoods because it’s unsuspecting. The neighbors wouldn’t be suspecting an operation like this is occurring so there’s less likelihood of being detected by police," he said.

Even more alarming is that the sheriff says with packaging showcasing cartoons, Spice targets kids and teens. Wakim and Hussein are charged with trafficking and renting a property for drug trafficking.

“That’s wonderful. They should be there but they should stay there!” said Morales.

Both have since bonded out. The investigation continues into just where all this Spice was going to.