By SEAN ROWLEY
The District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force seized between $200 and $300 worth of synthetic drugs during a bust Friday.
The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service were also in on the raid. Members of the task force hope the seizure will aid in an ongoing investigation to find larger suppliers.
“We received information that sales were being made from a residence off Choctaw Street,” said Michael Moore, task force director. “Further investigation led to a state search warrant based on the federal Schedule I list of drugs.”
Moore said the search of the residence uncovered paraphernalia; a “white powdery substance” undergoing testing at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation lab; and the synthetic drug compounds AB-fubinaca and ADB-pinaca. The drugs are often marketed as K2.
“Those compounds were just added to the federal schedule on Feb. 10,” Moore said. “We seized a fairly large quantity of different brands. This stuff is coming into Tahlequah from elsewhere.”
Legislation exists banning many synthetics, but manufacturers simply adjust or create new compounds that are not banned. The federal government frequently updates its list of Schedule I drugs to include new compounds, and Oklahoma law states any product represented as K2 or something similar can be considered illegal.
K2, also known as “spice” and “synthetic marijuana,” is usually smoked and can mimic the effects of marijuana. But drug enforcement officers express concern that the synthetics are marketed as mixtures of natural herbs.
Lab-testing in the U.S. and Europe shows the drugs are usually herbs sprayed with chemicals and that ingredients listed on K2 packages often do not represent the contents.
Studies suggest the effects of K2 are often more severe than those accompanied with the use of regular marijuana. Symptoms of abuse can include aggression and severe paranoia leading to violent behavior.
Most products are sold with no testing, and by packaging them as “not for human consumption,” oversight by the FDA is avoided.
Moore said no arrests were made during the seizure, but the task force has identified suspects and arrests are pending.