11/08/2012 12:03 EST | Updated 01/08/2013 05:12 EST

Police bust Quebec drug ring for trafficking bath salts

A major police operation is underway in the Eastern Townships targeting a drug ring said to be producing and trafficking the drug known as bath salts.

On Thursday morning the Eastern Townships Regional Mixed Squad raided 18 different locations including sites in the Granby, Shefford and Sherbrooke areas.

Sixteen suspects are being sought by investigators.

Joann Cooney, national coordinator of treatment centre Portage, has seen the effects of bath salts first hand.

She said the drug is in the early stages of entering Quebec.

According to Cooney, synthetic drugs like bath salts can be made very easily and the actual components of the drugs are constantly changing.

"It's very hard for the law enforcement to keep up with it," she said.

Health Canada banned the key ingredient for bath salts, MDPV, in September.

Police say the network was producing some 20,000 tablets of MDPV per week.