Police said they arrested three suspected drug dealers on Thursday after a tip led them to a home where K2, an illegal synthetic marijuana, was being sold.
Police officials, including the multi-agency Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, continue to crack down on the local sale and possession of K2, which has sent dozens of people to the hospital and caused problems to several neighborhoods since late last month.
One of the three taken into custody had been arrested on Dec. 3 on principal to sale of synthetic marijuana. The man, who had been released from the Marion County Jail on Dec. 9, now faces a charge of possession of synthetic cannabinoids with intent to sell.
When arrested Thursday, the man was sitting in a vehicle and that contained K2, and the drug was near him, according to drug agents.
Agents also arrested a 27-year-old woman on charges of possession of synthetic cannabinoids with intent to sell, possession of marijuana under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The third person arrested, a 39-year-old man, was detained as he walked away from the home, according to reports. He faces charges of for sale of synthetic cannabinoids and possession of synthetic marijuana less than three grams.
Authorities allegedly recovered 56 bags of synthetic marijuana and regular marijuana. The synthetic marijuana will be sent to a laboratory for testing, officials said.
Since late November, Ocala Fire Rescue and Ocala Police Department officers have responded to K2-related incidents at several locations, primarily at the Salvation Army compound near downtown, in Tuscawilla Park and along Northeast Eighth Avenue, on calls about people “acting weird.” The behaviors have included people being violent, getting into fights and having seizures.
Officials said some of those affected were taken to hospitals and others were taken to mental health facilities under the Baker Act, which allows authorities to intervene if people are considered a danger to themselves or others.
Fire and police officials estimated more than 40 people have been affected in some way by the drug. No deaths have been reported. Police officials believe the synthetic marijuana has been tampered with or laced with a more harmful chemical that causes people to have an adverse reaction and requires medical attention.
In response to the spike in medical calls and the ongoing investigation, OPD has deployed extra officers to some areas.
So far during the crackdown, 10 people have been arrested on K2-related charges.
K2, which goes by numerous other names, is a substance that mimics the effects of marijuana. Manufacturers are able to do this by taking a mixture of herbs and spices and spraying them with a synthetic chemical that has a similar structure to THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Florida and other states across the country have been cracking down on K2, and some states have even banned this drug. If you have been arrested for possession, sale, or distribution of K2, talk to a Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today.
Some other common names for K2 include:
- Black Mamba
- Bombay Blue