By Gary Lloyd
JEFFERSON COUNTY — Drug Enforcement Administration raids are under way throughout Jefferson County, as well as the state and country.
The raids are targeting designer synthetic drugs.
Local law enforcement is being assisted by DEA agents at convenience stores and other shops where the drugs are believed to be sold.
There are several locations in Jefferson County being hit. DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said several stores and residences have been hit. A source said a residence in Grayson Valley near Trussville was raided.
“This is a statewide operation that is also part of a national takedown today,” Payne said.
Payne said as many as 200 locations were being hit today across the U.S. He said 30 to 40 were in Alabama.
Payne said the drugs come from China and law enforcement officials are targeting the importers, who are routinely convenience store owners. The drugs carry a large profit margin, Payne said.
Payne said most of the people being targeted are from the Middle East.
“The money flow is flowing back into Yemen and Jordan area, and Lebanon, and then of course it’s very alarming because we know that drug trafficking funds terror,” Payne said. “When we see a small smoke shop in Alabama sending $40 million to Yemen, that gives us a lot of concern. We’re seeing a big-time link.”
Payne said authorities believe this could be a matter of national security.
“We don’t know for sure that these guys are funding terror, but the money’s going to the Middle East so that’s red flag No. 1,” Payne said.
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