Operation Snake Oil, or the synthetic marijuana raid that occurred Tuesday morning throughout the metropolitan area, was a “big bust” – as in a success – according to Independence Police spokesman Tom Gentry.

The operation targeted 45 area gas stations and convenience stores, including ones in western Independence, that sold synthetic marijuana, according to an investigation that began last spring and involved nearly 20 law enforcement agencies.

The raid seized 926 pounds of “K2” – or synthetic marijuana – and more than seven pounds of chemical product that is used to create the substance.

Gentry said 44 people were in custody as a result of the raid, but all have been released pending further investigation.

Some of the seized product is undergoing lab testing in order to build cases for prosecution.

In addition, $306,143.45 in cash was seized from businesses allegedly involved in the synthetic marijuana sales.

Gentry also pointed out the final general estimate of the street value from the 926 pounds of product seized was more than $12.35 million.