In a sting operation today, Frankfort Police and Franklin County Sheriff's Deputies charged five clerks at gas stations throughout the city with selling synthetic drugs. The sting came after undercover officers went to stores to buy the products. Police said over the holiday season, they had several run ins with people who had ingested these products. They say the people were violent and created a danger to officers and the public. Frankfort Police Chief Walter Wilhoite says anyone who thinks these products are legal is mistaken.
"It's enticing to younger people or people who don't want to get involved with the judicial system or run afoul of the law by actually using the real drug. They think this is a safe alternative. We are here to tell you it is not," he says.
While a law enacted last year bans certain chemical formulas, Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks says a 1992 Kentucky law says anything that's intentionally made to look like, act like, or is marketed like controlled substances is illegal. With names like "Xan-X", "Code Black, and "Cloud 10 Storm", as well as their expensive prices, he says these items are clearly being marketed as drugs.
The clerks who were charged face a $500 fine or a year in jail of convicted. Store owners were given a letter telling them they're under close watch from now on. On Tuesday, police say they'll go to every registered business in Frankfort giving them a letter explaining the law so that everyone is on the same page.