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Wisconsin man arrested in Colorado crackdown on synthetic drugs

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Nine people have been arrested -- including one from central Wisconsin -- as the result of a federal indictment in Denver as part of a crackdown on synthetic drugs.

The U-S Attorney for Colorado listed Kenneth Chastain, the owner of the Avalon-on-Fourth store in Marshfield, as among those receiving shipments of "Spice" from other defendants a grand jury indicted yesterday. According to the indictment, John Bowen and Daniel Bernier ran companies in Colorado and Florida which imported chemicals from China that were used to manufacture synthetic drugs sold throughout the U-S. Prosecutors said that for the first time, a smokable version of synthetic pot was discovered.

Besides the Wisconsin businessman, wholesalers and retailers from Illinois, Nebraska, and Colorado were arrested. U-S Attorney John Walsh told reporters in Denver that the indictment was the culmination of an eight-month investigation spurred by authorities who took action last summer due to large numbers of users getting sick.

Prosecutors said over 220 users of synthetic marijuana went to emergency rooms in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas last August and September -- and at least one death was attributed to "Spice."