Alleged user, sellers of man-made pot charged in crash


A Pottstown man who police said was “flying” on K2, or synthetic pot, and two others who supplied it from behind the counter of a local convenience store were charged Monday in connection with a May 21 car crash that killed two people.

In the first charges to be lodged in Montgomery County under the state’s recent ban on synthetic drugs, police announced the filing of two counts of vehicular homicide against Roger Malloy, 27, of the 300 block of N. York Street.

Malloy told police he had just smoked K2 on May 21 when the Lincoln Continental he was driving went out of control on rain-slick pavement, killing Pottstown residents James Crawford, 28, and Rachel Witt, 15, who were in the car.

A third passenger, Kendall Harper, 16, was severely injured in the crash on State Street in the northwestern Montgomery County borough, police said.

Police also announced the arrest of Rafie Ali, 34, of the 400 block of E. High Street, and Mohamed Himed, 25, of the Bronx, N.Y.

Ali, authorities allege, was proprietor of the store where Malloy purchased the K2. Himed was a clerk.

The pair were charged with corrupt organizations, delivering a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to court papers, the two peddled the illegal substance for $5 a bag or vial from behind the counter of the Achi store, a convenience shop at 315 E. High Street.

The pair were not charged with vehicular homicide because the anti-synthetic drug legislation passed Aug. 22, 2011, has no provision for that.

“We can’t file homicide charges against them, but make no mistake, they do have blood on their hands,” said District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman during a briefing in Norristown.

The two men were arraigned late Monday before District Judge Edward C. Kropp Sr., who ordered each held on $1 million bail in the Montgomery County prison. Malloy was awaiting arraignment before Kropp late Monday.

Ferman portrayed the case as a cautionary tale about what can go wrong when young people use synthetic marijuana.

Also known as “spice,” “K2” and fake weed, it is a manmade chemical compound that can be sprayed on a natural herb. When smoked, it delivers a high similar to THC, the prime ingredient in marijuana.

“K2 might look like something from a candy store, but it can kill,” Ferman said. She said young people use it because they believe it is cheap, relative to marijuana, and because they think “it’s not dangerous.”

“It can get you into as much trouble as other illegal drugs,” she warned.

On June 15, 2011, a 16-year-old Upper Moreland boy who had just smoked K2 jumped off the third story of a parking garage in Abington Township and was severely injured.

Police said the boy was sitting in a car with three friends about 8 p.m. when “he began to act oddly and may have been hallucinating.”

“He suddenly climbed out of the car. . .and ran full speed and leaped off of the deck,” detectives said. No charges were filed in connection with the incident because the synthetic drug ban had yet to become law.

In the Pottstown case, the K2 “caused [Malloy’s] heart to beat faster, blurred his vision, and caused a sense of panic,” according to court papers.

The car skidded 443 feet before coming to rest in an alley. Malloy pulled his friends from the back seat of the car and then vanished, police said. Malloy was apprehended May 22 while trying to escape authorities on a bicycle.

 

Advertisements