Drug Task Force agents and Florala Police Department officers, along with Chief Sony Bedsole, pose with the day's haul.
Drug Task Force agents and Florala Police Department officers, along with Chief Sony Bedsole, pose with the day's haul.

DTF makes largest synthetic MJ bust in its history

Published 2:28pm Saturday, June 29, 2013

Drug Task Force agents have seized more than 330 bags of synthetic marijuana – the largest bust of the product in the agency’s history.

The haul was made after a traffic stop on U.S. Hwy. 331 near the Florala airport just after lunch Saturday.

DTF agent Greg Jackson said Thomas Broaden, 45, of Montgomery, is being held on drug trafficking and possession of paraphernalia charges. District Judge Trippy McGuire set Broaden’s bond at $1,020,000.

“A lot of people think that because (the product) is synthetic, it doesn’t contain illegal ingredients,” Jackson said. “But that doesn’t mean those ingredients are legal in Alabama, because they aren’t.”

Agents seized a total of 3,300 grams of what is commonly called “spice.”

Jackson said the products were similar in nature to others seen locally by agents, but the quantity was not.

The bags were marked “Angry Birds: Space”and “Gold Caution: Super String Incense.”

Broaden allegedly purchased the spice in Florida and was bringing it back to Alabama when he was apprehended.

Jackson said the DTF was assisting with traffic during the city’s annual Masonic Celebration when he observed the 2013 Dodge pickup truck – a rental – speeding on North Sixth Street. Jackson said he smelled marijuana when he approached the truck and soon observed a brightly colored package on the floorboard of the truck. A closer examination revealed a pack of the product under the truck’s backseat. With assistance from the Florala Police Department, Broaden was taken into custody and later booked in to the Covington County Jail. A search of the vehicle revealed four bags filled with the spice packages.

Jackson said average price per pack in Covington County is estimated at $80, making the street value of the seized products nearly $25,000.

Chief Sonny Bedsole expressed his appreciation for the agency’s assistance during the day.

“The June 24th holiday is an important day for Florala, and we work very hard to make sure it remains a safe one,” Bedsole said.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks agreed.

“Today is a day of celebration in Florala, where families can relax and enjoy themselves,” Meeks said. “But law enforcement continues to remain vigilant because of situations just like this. Law enforcement officers in our county understand the extreme dangers of these drugs being transported into our county and the importance of doing all we can do within our legal capacity to stop these dangerous drugs from reaching our streets and our families.”

Broaden allegedly purchased the spice in Florida and was bringing it back to Alabama when he was stopped.

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