WRAL Investigates

DEA raids Raleigh lab that tests for synthetic marijuana

Posted March 30, 2012
Updated April 4, 2012

— Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently raided a north Raleigh laboratory that tests products for traces of synthetic marijuana and other illegal ingredients, according to federal court records.

WRAL News has investigated for two years products sold as incense or potpourri that contain marijuana-like ingredients, allowing people to smoke them to get high.

North Carolina lawmakers banned the sale of synthetic marijuana last year, but a WRAL News investigation found in November that the products had returned to area store shelves with claims that the illegal ingredients were gone.

In the past, several brands used Research Triangle Park Labs, off Brier Creek Parkway, to test their products. The lab issued reports saying none of the illegal ingredients was found.

Last week, DEA agents removed hundreds of files from the lab after the facility agreed to test a sample of synthetic pot that contained a controlled substance, according to the application for a search warrant.

Under federal law, DEA registrants are not supposed to accept controlled substances from non-DEA registrants. The DEA wants to know if the lab routinely tested samples for unregistered parties and whether accurate records were kept, according to the search warrant application.

No charges have been filed in the case.

DEA officials and the lab's owner, Alston Sykes, couldn't be reached for comment.


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  • Milkman Mar 30, 2012

    So, the government raids and closes down a lab that was testing material that mommy found in little Johnie's backpack and thought might be drugs because mommy isn't registered with the DEA.

    Seriously, the DEA? The same people who can't do anything to stop the tons of the stuff that cross our borders every day?

  • oscarb Mar 30, 2012

    Seriously, this is ridiculous. About that time now for the real stuff. The DEA could show up. LOL

  • Follow_The_Money27617 Mar 30, 2012

    There is no way to win this war on drugs. Even if you managed to destroy all the drugs (legal and illegal), the seeds, the recipes, etc. Someone, somewhere will think up a new way to get high.
    March 30, 2012 4:03 p.m.
    Report abuse

    Correct its called MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine)

  • djofraleigh Mar 30, 2012

    I need more explanation of why the lab shouldn't be able to test for other than the government

  • superman Mar 30, 2012

    What was the purpose of raiding a lab? The DEA is DEAD. It only exist in order to give people a job instead of their getting a real job.

  • NCworkingwoman Mar 30, 2012

    There is no way to win this war on drugs. Even if you managed to destroy all the drugs (legal and illegal), the seeds, the recipes, etc. Someone, somewhere will think up a new way to get high.

  • bubbba Mar 30, 2012

    Jeesh our government is really becoming an embarrassement to the rest of the world and here at home. Our war on drugs and never ending consumption of drugs has made the cartels stronger, wealthier, and more vicious.

  • OleNCNative Mar 30, 2012

    Instead of regulating and taxing marijuana (better for our economy), we waste millions and millions fighting it (bad for our economy). It's really that simple.

  • jlp Mar 30, 2012

    As much as I disagree with the war on drugs, it will never end. We only see at as a waste because we don't profit from it. But it is a big money maker for private prisons, law enforcement equipment suppliers, etc. As long as there is money to be made the bought and paid for politicians will continue this charade. It is all about taking money from our pockets (tax payers) and funneling it in to corporations. Follow the money.

  • storchheim Mar 30, 2012

    Can we just end the war on drugs already? We lost it. Does the govt have nothing better to do than raid labs - not even the dealers and growers, but the LABS? How much is this monkeyshine costing us?