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September 5, 2012

On March 27, 2012, Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 370, known as “Chase’s Law”, into effect.   This law made certain types of synthetic marijuana and synthetic substances known as “bath salts’ illegal to possess or sell in Georgia.

The Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (CMANS) has been aggressive in trying to get these illegal products off of store shelves.  At least two deaths in Georgia have been attributed to these illegal products.

On March 28, 2012, CMANS agents visited Smoke 911 located at 8265 Highway 92 in the City of Woodstock and put them on notice that the synthetic products were illegal.  After manufacturers changed the key ingredients to skirt the new law, the Georgia Board of Pharmacy issued an Emergency Order to ban the new synthetics.  On June 12, 2012, CMANS agents gave notice to the management at Smoke 911 that the new substances were banned.  On that same day CMANS agents executed a search warrant at Smoke 911 to seize all the banned and illegal substances in the store.  Serena P. Burkard, who had been identified by CMANS agents as the Manager of the Smoke 911 stores, was present during the search.

CMANS agents continued to receive complaints regarding illegal activity at the Smoke 911 store in Woodstock.  CMANS agents assisted Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the execution of a search warrant at Smoke 911 on August 21, 2012. ( This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ellen V. Endrizzi and Michael Brown. For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.)

Since the August 21 search at Smoke 911 CMANS received information from two different sources that Serena P. Burkard was selling bath salts and synthetics cannabinoids out of her car in the parking lot at the various Smoke 911 stores located around the north Metro Area.  CMANS agents developed information that indicated she would be in Woodstock on the evening of September 4, 2012.

A CMANS undercover agent was able to buy suspected bath salts from Ms. Burkard.  The brand of product the agent purchased had already been identified by the Crime Lab as illegal under “Chase’s Law”.  Burkard was placed under arrest for the Sale of Schedule I Controlled Substance.  CMANS Agents and Woodstock Police Officers then executed search warrants on her car and the business.

Agents located $10,269.26 in cash, 182 packages of suspected synthetic cannabinoids, and 26 packages of suspected bath salts.  The cash and much of the suspected illegal substances were located in Ms. Burkard’s car.  Agents seized the cash and Ms. Burkard’s automobile.

Ms. Burkard is being held without bond in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

CMANS is committed to do whatever is possible, within the law, to keep these dangerous products out of the hands of children and teenagers in our community.  CMANS is governed by a Control Board made up of the law enforcement executives in Cherokee County, including the Sheriff of Cherokee County, the Chiefs of Police for Canton, Holly Springs, Woodstock and Ball Ground, the Cherokee County Marshal, and the District Attorney.

Other participating agencies include the Cherokee County School Police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol.  Citizens may call in tips anonymously to (770) 345- 7920, or may speak to an agent by calling (770) 704-2350.

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The Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad is a joint task force working in Cherokee County to investigate drug-related violations. Participating agencies include the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, the Canton Police Department, the Woodstock Police Department, the Holly Springs Police Department, the Ball Ground Police Department, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office for the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, and the Georgia State Patrol. Citizens may call in tips anonymously to (770) 345-7920 or may speak to an agent by calling (678) 493-7625.