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The Feds Seized Six Texas Properties and $700,000 in Yet Another Fake Pot Case

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For a thankfully brief period in the mid-aughts, I lived in Abilene. Having experienced it in all of its splendor, I can say without hesitation that it is one of the most boring places on Earth. If you can avoid it, don't go there, ever, for any reason.

If you do have to spend some time there, you should know that, according to a forfeiture complaint filed in federal court Friday, one of the substances that you might have sought out to alleviate your inevitable ennui might be in short supply.

That's because the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized six properties and over $700,000 from Abilene head shop owner Ricardo Cervantes Estrada after accusing his Mr. Nice Guy's shops of selling "synthetic cannabanoids."

Synthetic cannabanoids are the chemical hodgepodges that attempt, and sometimes fail, to mimic the effects of THC. Makers regularly mix up the formula used to make the substances in an attempt to skirt federal regulations, which treat the drugs, just as they do heroin and actual marijuana, as a Schedule 1 substance.

Over the last year, Dallas has been at the center of multiple incidents involving the substances including an outbreak of overdoses and one of the biggest synthetic drug busts in U.S. history, the seizure of the Dallas-based Gas Pipe head shop chain.

This time, DFW was a big part of the supply-side of the operation. For over two years, the feds allege, Mr. Nice Guy's bought between $6,000 and $9,000 of fake pot from Herbal Incense Café, a web-based wholesaler in Sunnyvale.

Mr. Nice Guy's would sell the 2-gram packages under delightful names such as "Angry Birds Space" and "Respect My Authoritah." Now all of the alleged profits from the operation are being held in escrow at the Federal Reserve Bank as the government seeks their forfeiture.

All for some drugs that weren't even the real thing.

Estrada could not be reached for comment because he is currently in prison for an unrelated 2007 organized criminal activity charge.

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