Store owner accused of selling dangerous ‘spice’ synthetic drug in court

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BOULDER, Colo. -- It started when undercover agents sent a minor into a Longmont convenience store to buy cigarettes in July 2012. It ended when agents from the Department of Revenue seized more than 1,000 packages of "spice," a synthetic drug.

The store in Longmont is called Tobacco King.

FOX31 Denver approached the store's owner, Sang Leaming, when he arrived at Boulder County Court Friday to face felony charges.

Reporter Dave Young asked, "Did you know the products were being smoked?"

"Who cares? Who knows?" Leaming responded.

Stephanie Colbert's son, Nick, died after buying one of dozens of "spice" products that are available at places like some convenience stores in Colorado. Nick bought his in Colorado Springs.

It took more than a year for prosecutors to bring Leaming to court because of the complexity of compiling evidence in a "spice" case.

"We haven't done a lot of prosecution on the spice cases," says Barbara Roach of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA says testing for illegal substances in the products is difficult and expensive for local law enforcement. "You gotta' have the experience in these types of cases it's almost trial by fire. You gotta' know how to prosecute the case," Roach says.

"The stores need to stop selling it," Stephanie Colbert says. "It needs to get off the streets, period."

Leaming is out of jail on $1,000 bond. He is due back in court next month.

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