A joint operation between local law enforcement and a state agency turned up nothing in the way of synthetic marijuana in convenience stores doing business in Webster Parish.
"Alcohol and Tobacco Control contacted us and the sheriff's office and wanted to bring their dog in to inspect these stores," Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said. "They sent six agents, in addition to the K-9."
Cropper said officers were on site to assist if needed.
"If the dog were to alert to synthetic marijuana, then ATC would contact us, we would obtain a warrant and search the premises," he said.
Minden police assisted in about seven inspections inside the city limits.
MPD Capt. Dan Weaver said one agent would go to a store and wait for the K-9 officer to finish at a different site.
"We would be at several stores simultaneously, but they would be inspected one at a time as the dog was available," Weaver said. "They (ATC) were not searching for anything. They were conducting their normal inspections, which they are allowed to do as a state agency. We did not go into any of the stores. We were on standby to assist them in case they needed us."
Luckily, he said, their assistance was not necessary.
"Nothing was found at any of the stores, and I attribute that to us cracking down on synthetic marijuana being sold – us investigating and making arrests," Cropper said. "The store owners know if they sell it, they take the risk of being arrested for it."
Sheriff Gary Sexton said his deputies assisted outside the city limits, and they, too, came up empty handed.
"We went to all areas of the parish," he said. "From the south end, as far north as near Springhill. We could have gone to more stores, but our results were good. That shows our stores are abiding by the law, and maybe this synthetic drug is not readily available as much as we thought."
Weaver said law enforcement will keep a close eye on outlets for synthetic marijuana.
"People think it's legal," he said of the synthetic marijuana. "It's not, and we are going to treat it as such. If you get caught with it, you're going to be arrested."
MPD and WPSO have K-9 officers, but they were not used in the inspections.