The owner of a Lake Forest smoke shop was arrested Thursday afternoon when deputies served a search warrant and found bath salts, spice, a handgun and four knives, officials said.
An undercover investigation prompted members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department South County narcotics team to raid Vishions Smoke Shop at 24412 Muirlands Blvd.
The narcotics team and Special Investigation Bureau said officers found 144 grams of bath salts, 5.65 pounds of spice, a handgun and four switchblades.
Shop owner Mauricio Romero, 42, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of illegally selling synthetic stimulants, possessing synthetic cannabis for sale, possessing a dangerous weapon and possessing a switchblade knife.
He and another employee and three customers were detained inside the shop. Two customers, both 17, were later released to their parents.
Bath salts, a synthetic stimulant, go by such nicknames as Ivory Wave, Purple Wave and Vanilla Sky, among others, sheriff's Lt. Doug Doyle said.
The effects of using bath salts are similar to those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Additional side effects can include severe paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts and extreme resistance to pain, Doyle said.
Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, often referred to as K2 or Blaze, mimics the euphoric effects of marijuana. Additional side effects can include body numbness, high blood pressure, severe headaches and anxiety.
A similar case occurred May 29 in San Clemente, when authorities seized 106 grams of bath salts at a smoke shop. Deputies arrested 38-year-old Eiad Diab for allegedly selling the substance at his business, Tobacco and Accessories.
Officers in San Clemente also seized 2.6 pounds of spice at Diab’s business.
According to the DEA, bath salt users report “impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes.”