Most pushers of illegal drugs would love it if law enforcement agencies tipped them off before moving in for an arrest. Just stop selling the stuff and there won't be any problems.
But authorities in Belmont County say that didn't work for them. They notified local businesses selling a product known as K-2 that it should be removed from store shelves because it contains illegal substances, Prosecuting Attorney Chris Berhalter said. In essence, K-2 is synthetic marijuana, he said during a press conference this week.
Most of the notified businesses complied swiftly, removing what Berhalter called "these poisons."
But a few - one each in Bridgeport, Shadyside and St. Clairsville - did not comply with the warning. Last week the stores, along with the home of one owner, were raided by members of the local Drug Task Force. One person was arrested and more than 16,000 packets of synthetic marijuana were seized.
Of course, anyone arrested in connection with the raids is innocent until proven guilty in court.
But if local and state authorities involved in the raids are correct, the businesses were engaged in drug pushing, purely and simply. They pursued that business despite complaints from area residents and, again, a no-nonsense notification from law enforcement officials.
No doubt some new scheme will be found to market illegal drugs. When it surfaces, local police and prosecutors should act against it, too. Traffic in harmful drugs, whether by street corner pushers or those with storefronts, must be stopped.