Terror Case Against Head Shops Goes Up In Smoke

Investigators brought drug-related charges to 27 head shop operators, but none flipped to reveal ties to terror groups

As one local terrorism-related investigation came to fruition, another major case went up in smoke.

Federal prosecutors in Miami dropped drug-related charges against 27 local head shop operators at once this week, admitting they lacked evidence to prove some were sending profits overseas for terror activities.

"New information surfaced that, in our discretion, made it appropriate to dismiss the charges," said U.S. Attorney special counse Alicia Valle in a statement, noting the information was "not in the public record."

Undercover officers spent two years on "Operation Cedar Sweep," which targeted head shop owners of primarily Lebanese descent.

Some shops were suspected of selling "cut" for cocaine and using the profits to support terror groups.

Posing as drug dealers, officers fitted with surveillance equipment spent time in the shops and talked with the owners about buying cut, the mix of pharmaceuticals blended with cocaine to maximize production and profits.

Though multiple shop owners sold the officers products necessary to make cut, according to filings obtained by the Miami Herald, none of them broke the law in the process.

Nor did they admit, once facing drug charges, any possible ties to terror funding.

"They sold legal products that you can find at a GNC," explained one defendant's attorney, Joseph Rosenbaum, to the Herald. "No drugs were ever found on the premises. No crime was ever committed."

Contact Us