By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania law enforcement officials call it “Operation Artificial High” — an ongoing investigation designed to put a dent in the illegal trafficking and sale of what they say are dangerous synthetic drugs.

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As part of a much larger nationwide effort, police have executed more than four dozen search warrants at homes, convenience stores, gas stations, and smoke shops in eight counties including Montgomery and the City of Philadelphia.

They seized more than 300,000 individual doses of synthetic marijuana and illegal “bath salts” with a street value of more than $1.2 million.

Pennsylvania attorney general spokesman Nils Frederiksen says these substances are illegal, and the message is clear: “Law enforcement will find you.   We will seize these items.  And if we can, we will prosecute you and put you in jail.”

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In an effort to skirt the ban, he says, many stores either rebrand the substance or move them behind the counter.

Law enforcement officials say they are dangerous because with many different chemical blends on the market, someone who smokes or ingests the drugs may have no idea what’s in the package.

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