Smokedale: Federal agents raided stores

Smokedale in Oakdale
Smokedale employees say threee of their stores were raided by federal officials on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Above, the store's Oakdale, Minn., location
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Employees of Smokedale Tobacco say federal officials raided their three stores on Wednesday -- two in the Twin Cities and one in Hudson, Wis. - and the Drug Enforcement Agency said the raid was part of Wednesday's nationwide crackdown targeting synthetic drug sales.

DEA officials say their latest Project Synergy take down resulted in the execution of about 375 search warrants in 35 states and five countries.

An employee at Smokedale's Oakdale location who didn't want her name used said she was working when the raid happened Wednesday morning and was handcuffed with other employees while federal agents searched the store, seizing cash and what she referred to as an herbal remedy called "Dark Matter."

"They just came in yelling with their guns ready and they said, 'DEA. Everybody freeze, put your hands on your head," she said. "They took all our money from our safes and from our tills and I asked them, 'What does this have to do with what you're looking for?' And he said it was relevant to the investigation," she said.

The employee said none of the workers were taken into custody following the raid.

All three Smokedale locations that were raided on Wednesday open again for business on Thursday.

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