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Local synthetic drug probe has roots in Texas

Months after law enforcement officials searched his warehouse, and days after they searched his home, a Fort Wayne man was arrested in connection with a federal drug investigation that began in Texas.

Barry Bays, 42, of the 2500 block of East Tillman Road, remains in the Allen County Jail after his arrest on Tuesday. He is charged in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a "Schedule 1 controlled substance analogue," which is a drug similar in substance to a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

In this case, according to court documents, Bays was buying up chemicals to make synthetic marijuana – illegal under both state and federal law.

The investigation into Bays began in May after Denton, Texas, police and a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent arrested a man on a warrant for delivery of synthetic marijuana. The man identified other people who helped him in the trade, and one of those was ultimately identified as Bays.

The man said that he made between $500 and $1,000 per kilogram on chemicals sold to make synthetic pot. One of the major buyers the man brokered for was Bays, who operated B&B Distributing in Fort Wayne, according to court records.

Bays was buying so much of the chemicals, the man grew tired of dealing with him and found someone else to handle the purchases for him, according to court documents.

In December, Fort Wayne police searched Bay's manufacturing location at 4914 Speedway Drive, as well as his Tillman Road home. Along with financial evidence and business records at the locations, investigators also examined Bays' trash and found evidence of other plants used to make synthetic marijuana.

Sometime after the December raid, Bays moved his distribution operation to Defiance, Ohio, according to court documents.

And in July, Indianapolis police searched a suspicious package being sent to B&B in Defiance from "Hazy Daze" in Galveston, Texas, court documents allege.

Inside the package was more than 2 kilograms of synthetic pot, according to court documents.

Bays faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the charge, according to court filings. He has a hearing in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne in September, according to court records.