FREMONT (KCBS) – Fremont Police announced Thursday the arrest of two smoke shop owners accused of selling so-called “bath salts,” as cases of people behaving erratically under the influence of the synthetic stimulants are becoming more common.

Police believe a woman found standing barefoot in the middle of Fremont Boulevard on Tuesday had probably ingested the bath salts, which have effects similar to methamphetamine.

Sgt. Darryl Manrique said the 24-year-old was incoherent and unable to speak, but would periodically scream for no apparent reason.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“Every minute or so, out of nowhere, she would just scream,” he said, then immediately becomes quiet.

Manrique said bath salts can take a user through a range of behaviors from very calm to extremely violent.

Authorities believe two Vallejo men who went on a naked rampage in October had consumed a mixture of bath salts. The standoff ended when one of the men being shot and killed by police.

The drugs are often available in smoke shops, packaged in a way that appeals to young people.

“The packaging has cartoon characters. They’ll use Scooby Doo. They’ll use the Mad Hatter from Disney. They’ll use demons, things that look cool to kids,” Manrique said.

In October, Fremont police raided two smoke shops suspected of selling bath salts and spice, which simulates the effects of marijuana.

Six pounds of synthetic cannabinoids and several grams of synthetic stimulants with an estimated value of $25,000 were seized from Rocky’s Smoke Shop in the Crossroads Shopping Center and Monsters of Rock Smoke Shop in the Irvington area.

While possessing bath salts is not illegal, selling them is a crime.

The shop owners, Vijay Patel and David Ghebreab, were arrested on charges of selling synthetic stimulant compounds and possession of concentrated cannabis.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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