Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross cracks down on synthetic drug sellersChris Ross de fiscal de distrito del Condado de Pontotoc detiene vendedores de drogas sintéticasFriday, May 27th, 2011
Authorities organized an undercover sting after two teenagers were sickened from a synthetic drug bought at a convenience store.
Two people working in different convenience stores in Ada were arrested this week for allegedly selling an undercover police officer the synthetic drug 2K11. The drug is touted to have effects similar to marijuana. Police also confiscated large amounts of various synthetic drugs, cash and drug packaging material.
Hassan Al Rashdan, 26, and Dinh Thi Nghiem, 54, both of Ada, were jailed in Pontotoc County on felony complaints of unlawful delivery of a synthetic dangerous substance.
“Let the seller beware,” District Attorney Chris Ross said.
Ross said it’s not against the law to possess synthetic drugs, but it is illegal to sell or give them to someone else.
Two Ada teenagers were taken to the hospital Sunday after smoking 2K11 they bought at a convenience store, Ada Assistant Police Chief Carl Allen said. The teenagers put the marijuana-like substance in grape-flavored cigars, he said.
One boy was saying “weird things” and fell to the ground with a seizure. The second vomited and was incoherent, he said.
Allen said the teenagers were not seriously injured.
Two East Central University students recently died from a synthetic drug called 2C-E bought on the Internet. Cody Weddle, 20, faces second-degree murder and drug distribution charges in connection with their deaths.
In the wake of those highly publicized deaths, it should have been obvious that selling synthetic drugs is illegal, Ross said.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep people from selling them in my district,” he said.
Ross is the district attorney in Pontotoc, Hughes and Seminole counties. He said more convenience stores could be targeted.
In 2010, officials began aggressively spot checking stores in the state for selling synthetic marijuana, often called K2.
Three convenience stores were targeted in Ada. Ross said the two arrested manage the stores.
Employees at one store told an undercover officer posing as a buyer that 2K11 was popular and would give him “a good high” that would last about two hours, according to a court affidavit.
At each store, synthetic drugs were kept under the counter. In some instances the drugs were being packaged as potpourri or bath salts with names like Mr. Nice Guy, Ross said.
Police seized large amounts of cash from the stores and managers’ homes, and froze the businesses’ bank accounts. They obtained search warrants and found several thousand dollars in synthetic drugs in Rashdan’s home, and more than 140 packets of 2K11 and other synthetic drugs in his store.
The sellers were making a significant profit.
Ross said the products were being sold for $25 to $38 per gram, making the price of the synthetic drug $700 to $1,064 an ounce. The same product sells on the Internet for $15 to $45 an ounce, he said.
Law Offices of Matt Swain