Synthetic drugs aren't really a novel threat. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a shipment of "Spice"—one of the many code names for "synthetic marijuana"—was seized in Dayton, Ohio back in 2008.
The DEA director of the Special Operations Division Derek Maltz told The Daily Beast: "I'll be the first to admit that synthetics have been around for a while. But our concept of the magnitude of the problem, even in the last few weeks, it's increased, and at the end of the day these drug dollars are going to places where they don't like us very much. That's not good."
From only a handful of synthetic drugs identified in 2009, the number jumped to a whopping 158 in 2012. Moreover, in 2011 alone, the drug known as "K2" caused 39,000 trips to the ER, and 7,000 calls to poison control centers around the country.
Despite these frightening statistics, synthetic drugs continue to be popular, especially with teenagers. In their 2012 survey, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 1 in 9 high school seniors used synthetic marijuana.
"For terrorists, the synthetic drug market is a two-for-one deal: Poison gets distributed in the West, and they make millions in the process," said Maltz.
As shown in the infographic by Clarity Way below, narco-terrorists aren't likely to bail out on a $400 billion dollar industry. The drug money from synthetic marijuana has been linked to terrorists in Yemen. The DEA has cracked down on synthetic drug dealers in America and have seized more than $80 million in cash and assets.
Click on the infographic to enlarge it