AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Federal agents swept into Amherst and North Tonawanda to take down who they call a major distributor of synthetic drugs.
Drug Enforcement Agency officials say the warehouse they raided had even more synthetic drugs than they had anticipated. The man they say is responsible is a major trafficker who provided to retailers in the area.
Early Wednesday morning, the DEA, state police and local agencies arrested Fawzi Al-Arashi at his Amherst home.
Web Extra | WNY Mug Shot Photo Gallery
At the same time, with search warrants in hand, they were raiding Al-Arashi's warehouse in Amherst and retail store in North Tonawanda. They say they found significant quantities of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic amphetamines that mimic the affects of marijuana and meth.
DEA officials say they have seize warrants for $400,000 of Al-Arashi's funds, with an additional $200,000 in the works.
News 4 stopped at his house Wednesday and ran into his wife. News 4 also stopped at the retail store, and people who live in the area say they knew something wasn't right when the store had more traffic than the gas station across the street.
One area resident said, "Funny that people go in there to buy stuff and they're not coming back out with nothing. And if they are they are only coming out with incense, you can buy incense anywhere."
Al-Ashari's wife says she doesn't think her husband was selling an K2. She says he has a lawyer and she believes he will be out of jail soon.
Officials say these drugs are an emerging problem. They are very dangerous because the are high addictive and the side effects are many times unknown, because the chemical compound keeps changing.
Police say they had the wrong man, and that Jerome Thagard, who spent four years in prison, didn't murder Steven Northrup in 2009. But the victim's family says otherwise.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
It was so treacherous in North Collins, the mayor had to issue a travel ban, and village snow plows were pulled off the roadways to keep drivers from trying to plow in zero visibility.
The Buffalo School Board unanimously approved plans to transform Burgard High School into a Manufacturing Magnet School on Wednesday,
Investigators are making progress in the case of a Chihuahua thrown in a ditch while zipped up in a Coors Light thermal bag.