‘You sold my son bath salts. I’ll kill you’: Furious father smashes up shop that sold boy legal drugs which left him in hospital


  • A mother was charged with trespassing two weeks ago after she started shouting at staff in a shop that sold ‘bath salts’
  • These drugs can be sold legally in the US as long as they are not marked for human consumption
  • In high doses, the chemicals can cause violent behaviour and terrifying hallucinations

into a rage and smashed up a shop that supplied legal ‘bath salts’ type drugs that put his son in hospital.

Justin Avery, 24, was taken to New York’s Samaritan Hospital after snorting a powder labelled ‘glass cleaner’ that his friends had called ‘fake cocaine’.

According to police reports, his father Dan then called the store where his son had paid $20 for the legal high and left a message saying: ‘You sold my kid bath salts and I’ll [expletive] kill you’.

Dangerous trade: 'Bath salts' and 'glass cleaner' are synthetic highs named after the innocuous products because they can be legally sold if they are marked as not for human consumptionDangerous trade: ‘Bath salts’ and ‘glass cleaner’ are synthetic highs named after the innocuous products because they can be legally sold if they are marked as not for human consumption

Justin had never used any drug stronger than marijuana, he said, but snorted the glass cleaner for the first time one evening because he was upset and had heard it would give him a buzz.

But by 1.30am his heart was racing wildly, he was sweating heavily and his breathing had become so laboured he thought he would die.

Three days earlier, a friend of the 24-year-old’s had apparently called Avery Sr hallucinating, afraid that people were trying to kill him.

Justin said the friend had also used the so-called ‘glass cleaner’ bought at Tebb’s Headshop, according to syracuse.com.

Avery drove to Tebb’s, based in a little strip mall, carrying a miniature wooden baseball bat in his truck, as usual.

The slight 5’7″, 120-pound man then chased off waiting customers, screaming, ‘You need some bath salts?’

Shop worker Trevor Harding arrived and opened up, while Mr Avery went to his 2003 Ford Explorer and slid the bat into his trousers. He then went into Tebb’s and pretended to be one of the customers he had just chased away.

CRIMEWAVE TRIGGERED BY USERS HIGH ON LEGAL DRUG ‘BATH SALTS’

Bath salts are likely to be stimulant drugs such MPDV or ephedrine. The phrase does not refer to a single chemical, but instead to a range of synthetic drugs that can be sold legally in the US as long as they are not marked for human consumption – hence the misleading name.

In high doses, such drugs can cause violent and unpredictable behaviour, and terrifying hallucinations. Here are just a few of the recent crimes said to have been triggered by the dangerous drugs:

  • ‘Miami Cannibal’ Rudy Eugene was thought to have taken bath salts before stripping and pouncing on a homeless man and chewing off his face. He was shot dead. Although he did not take bath salts, it is believed he influenced a number of later attacks.
  • Brandon DeLeon, 21, allegedly tried to bite off a police officer’s hand after he was arrested for disturbing customers in a Miami fast food restaurant. He yelled at officers: ‘I’m going to eat you.’ The police report noted that he ‘growled and opened and closed his jaw like an animal.’
  • Carl Jacquneaux, 43, allegedly bit a chunk out of his neighbour’s face while on the drug before going to another neighbour’s home in Scott, Louisiana and threatening him at knife point.
  • Shane Shuyler, 40, allegedly stripped off and laid naked on a park bench in North Miami while under the influence of bath salts. He exposed himself to a three-year-old girl before chasing her and shouting lewd comments.
  • Pamela McCarthy, 35, allegedly stripped naked and began choking and punching her son, four, in the street after taking bath salts. Police used a Taser to subdue her and she went into cardiac arrest and later died.

He asked for bath salts or glass cleaner, he recalled, and Harding put a round blue-and-orange package on the glass countertop.

He claims Harding then pulled out a magazine and opened it to a page that showed him how much glass cleaner to take.

‘That’s when I just went crazy,’ said Avery. He pulled the bat out of his pants and started swinging. He smashed the five-foot-long glass counter and a couple of glass ashtrays. Then he started flinging glass pipes from shelves at  Harding.

‘Here’s a nice one,’ Avery remembers yelling as he threw the pipes. ‘Here’s another nice one.’

He chased Harding back and forth behind the counter and the pair grappled before Avery returned his bat to the car and gave Harding a lecture.

He said he told Harding: ‘You’re a sick man to sell this to these kids, knowing it’s gonna twist their minds. You’re pathetic.’

Then he asked Harding for the store phone and called the police to tell them what he had done.

After 10 to 15 minutes, police arrived and took him into custody. They charged him with two felonies – criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon – which carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

The police report says Avery threatened to kill Harding in the store. but Avery said he only intended to scare the clerk.

‘I wanted them to know why I did it,’ he said. ‘The cop asked me and I said, “So people will know. So other parents who don’t even know their kids can buy this type of drug will be aware.”

‘It sparked in my mind: It’s all over. I’ve lived my life for 30 years to do good, and tried to raise my kids to do good. But I couldn’t help it.’

He said he had thought about letting authorities handle it, but the law does not consider those products illegal.

The day after Avery’s violence, federal agents and local police raided Tebb’s and other head shops across the country. Agents seized the Watertown store’s supply of glass cleaner, among other products, Mr Harding said in an interview.

He said said the store did not sell bath salts because they’re illegal, and claimed the shop was being wrongly accused of peddling harmful drugs.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent filed an affidavit last week in Syracuse federal court to get a search warrant for the store raids. In it, he listed glass cleaners as one of the names drug sellers use to disguise ‘highly dangerous chemicals that are ingested by recreational drug users’ as a substitute for marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine.

The raids follow months of horrific crimes by people disoriented by synthetic drugs.

Another frustrated parent, a mother in Batavia, was charged with trespassing two weeks ago after she tried to buy bath salts at a head shop there, then started yelling at employees.

Neither police nor prosecutors would comment on their plans for Avery.

‘We don’t want people acting as vigilantes,’ said police Sgt. Joe Donoghue.

Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert said prosecutors would consider many factors when evaluating the case, as they do in all others.

In his blog, Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham asked, ‘What juror votes to convict the guy for busting up a head shop that was selling bath salts to his 24-year-old son?’

Avery, who earns $2,400 a month setting up double-wide and modular homes, said he was worried about having enough money to hire a lawyer.

‘I was being a father,’ he added.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181018/Justin-Avery-Furious-father-smashes-shop-sold-24-year-old-legal-drugs-left-hospital.html#ixzz22A4MN81T

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The challenges of synthetic marijuana


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Monday afternoon the Contact 5 Investigators were undercover, inside a Martin County beverage shop.  We were hunting for synthetic marijuana.

“He would do anything to get his hands on it,” explained a local mother who asked us not to reveal her identity to protect her son.

Her interview with the Contact 5 Investigators is the first time she’s talking publicly about fake pot.

“It’s crushed our entire family, it has just ripped us apart.”

She says the chemically doused herbs sold in shiny packets and labeled with names like “Mad Hatter” and “Kriptonyt,” have turned her 19 year old son from a college bound Eagle scout to helpless and homeless.

“He was addicted to this substance and he had to have more and more and more.”

Easy to access and cheap to buy, synthetic marijuana has become a national threat, now getting national attention.

Chopper 5 captured a bust at a storage unit in suburban west palm beach Wednesday, the raid one of about 100 nationwide.

“This is one of, if not the largest distributor in the United States,” explained Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed into law a new measure that would ban the sale and production of many of the chemicals found in synthetic marijuana.

“The drug manufacturers of products, like synthetic drugs, they’re a step ahead of law enforcement,” said Philip Bulone, a former New York narcotics cop and drug abuse counselor.

Bulone questions if laws are enough to stop the synthetic spread.

“You can rest assured that someone is in a laboratory creating a new compound. ”

He believes the key to busting the problem is closing down the businesses where it’s sold.

“When you hurt your people in the pocketbook, people tend to back off.”

Until its gone, synthetic marijuana will be available.  We purchased 3 grams of “Kryptonyt” for $10 from the shop in Martin County.  We received no receipt, were asked no questions.  It’s that easy access parents, like the mother who has asked to remain anonymous, are so concerned will continue.

“It’s a slow death.  I see my son killing himself.”

According to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue during the month of June, crews responded to a dozen incidents involving synthetic marijuana. It was the highest volume of calls over synthetic marijuana in the agency’s history.

 

cracking down on synthetic marijuana


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Monday afternoon the Contact 5 Investigators were undercover, inside a Martin County beverage shop.  We were hunting for synthetic marijuana.

“He would do anything to get his hands on it,” explained a local mother who asked us not to reveal her identity to protect her son.

Her interview with the Contact 5 Investigators is the first time she’s talking publicly about fake pot.

“It’s crushed our entire family, it has just ripped us apart.”

She says the chemically doused herbs sold in shiny packets and labeled with names like “Mad Hatter” and “Kriptonyt,” have turned her 19 year old son from a college bound Eagle scout to helpless and homeless.

“He was addicted to this substance and he had to have more and more and more.”

Easy to access and cheap to buy, synthetic marijuana has become a national threat, now getting national attention.

Chopper 5 captured a bust at a storage unit in suburban west palm beach Wednesday, the raid one of about 100 nationwide.

“This is one of, if not the largest distributor in the United States,” explained Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed into law a new measure that would ban the sale and production of many of the chemicals found in synthetic marijuana.

“The drug manufacturers of products, like synthetic drugs, they’re a step ahead of law enforcement,” said Philip Bulone, a former New York narcotics cop and drug abuse counselor.

Bulone questions if laws are enough to stop the synthetic spread.

“You can rest assured that someone is in a laboratory creating a new compound. ”

He believes the key to busting the problem is closing down the businesses where it’s sold.

“When you hurt your people in the pocketbook, people tend to back off.”

Until its gone, synthetic marijuana will be available.  We purchased 3 grams of “Kryptonyt” for $10 from the shop in Martin County.  We received no receipt, were asked no questions.  It’s that easy access parents, like the mother who has asked to remain anonymous, are so concerned will continue.

“It’s a slow death.  I see my son killing himself.”

According to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue during the month of June, crews responded to a dozen incidents involving synthetic marijuana. It was the highest volume of calls over synthetic marijuana in the agency’s history.

Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/fake-pot-will-it-ever-end#ixzz2220Mesnv

Synthetic marijuana abuse growing, officials say


Top Photo
By Jessica Cohen

Over the last year, synthetic marijuana has become the wild card in “substance abuse cocktails” in the Port Jervis area, landing teens and adults in intensive care units for days at a time, local officials say.

The drug is a combination of herbs, spices and cannabanoids, chemically related to cannabis, according to the New York state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

It’s commonly called K2 or Spice, among other names, and is marketed as an herbal incense, not for human consumption, but users smoke or ingest it anyway.

A recent OASAS survey of 48 substance abuse care providers statewide, covering 5,877 patients, found 22 percent of patients used synthetic marijuana.

Port Jervis police Detective Mike Worden has observed the drug’s path in Port Jervis.

“It has a much more powerful psychoactive effect than marijuana,” says Worden. “It’s also more expensive.”

Police frequently encounter users because of late-night calls complaining about loud noise, Worden says — though causes of such complaints are not limited to K2.

In pursuit of brief euphoria, users may resort to crime to get it. On Feb. 9, Worden said, a window was smashed at Jamaica Junction, a shop on Front Street. Among the items taken was K2, which was then sold legally as incense.

 

Banned but still available

Although synthetic marijuana has likely been available in the Port Jervis area before this year, the user population has now grown enough to be visible, says Richard Santiago, director of behavioral health at Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.

Selling the substance became illegal in New York state in March by order of the state health commissioner, but Santiago says its use and purchase have continued unabated.

“Users are still getting synthetic marijuana from shops in neighborhoods,” Santiago says.

Gina Matthews, of Catholic Charities’ Port Jervis office, says users continue to come to the clinic.

Meanwhile, illicit chemists are formulating versions of synthetic marijuana that evade the laws. Since laws regarding chemicals are accompanied by chemical descriptors, says Worden, variations of chemical combinations that differ slightly from prohibited drugs may be technically legal.

“Most synthetic substances have no marijuana,” Worden says. “They’re adding all kinds of chemicals similar to cannabanoids, but more powerful. We’re seeing the consequences as a problem. Abuse is more common, but it’s hard to gauge when it’s legal.”

According to Jeffrey Hammond, spokesman for the Public Affairs Group of the New York state Department of Health, a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that

11.4 percent of all high school students used synthetic marijuana within the past year.

 

Medical effects

Hammond said side effects include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, hallucinations and renal failure.

The Upstate New York Poison Control Center, which covers Port Jervis, has seen an upsurge in calls related to synthetic marijuana, from 10 calls in 2010 to 215 in 2011 and 122 in the first quarter of 2012. Most needed medical care.

“We see stronger responses to the drug, but everyone reacts differently,” Worden says. “It causes hallucinations. People see and hear things.”

“What happens depends on how much is used and in what combinations,” Santiago says. “The danger is also in unknown chemicals, especially mixed with other substances. You don’t know what someone’s putting together. There’s no control of quality or quantity.”

Chronic users who escape

the physical distress, hallucinations and helplessness that bring people to hospitals nevertheless show symptoms of brain function impairment typical of drug addiction — low motivation and muddled decision-making, Santiago says.

“These substances affect the brain,” Santiago says. “The part that helps make decisions about right and wrong is altered by chemical use.”

 

Prescriptions drugs still top threat

Despite the growth of synthetic cannabis, it’s still not the region’s biggest drug problem.

“Because of cost, it’s not the most common drug,” Worden says. “A three-gram package of synthetic marijuana costs $20 and makes one or two cigarettes.”

Prescription drugs are still the predominant substance abuse problem, Santiago says.

He says he recently saw a sign in his doctor’s office notifying patients that narcotic prescriptions are no longer available there; patients would need to see a specialist to get them.

National sweep targets producers of bath salts, synthetic marijuana


An earlier version of this report indicated that one of the raids took place on Staten Island. Our source for that information now reports that no Staten Island connection has been verified.

SYNTHETIC-POT.jpg

Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimoSynthetic marijuana, sold under the names Mr. Smiley and Spice, was purchased by the Advance in this Nov. 11, 2010 file photo. Today, officials will announce they raided a Staten Island producer of illegal bath salts and marijuana.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Drug Enforcement Administration, as part of a national crackdown on distributors and manufacturers of bath salts and synthetic marijuana, has raided more than 90 U.S. locations within the past 48 hours, including 19 in New York.

Law enforcement officials are expected to announce the results of the nationwide crackdown later today.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to psychotic episodes and deaths of users.

The drugs have become a popular alternative to traditional street drugs, but law enforcement and health professionals have warned that the chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana and hallucinogens bath salts have not been tested or approved for human consumption.

Synthetic marijuana is sold under such brand names as “K2” and “Spice.”

Federal legislation was passed earlier this month to ban bath salts, synthetic marijuana and synthetic hallucinogens.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who championed the bill, hailed news of the raid.

“If local retailers and manufacturers think they can still get away with business as usual, and continue to sell and produce these synthetic poisons, then (the) DEA’s raids should be a lesson to them,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.). “I urge the DEA to continue such raids until these horrible and debilitating drugs are not longer sold anywhere in America.”

Williamsville man charged in synthetic marijuana bust


In the eyes of prosecutors, Fawzi Al-Arashi was more than a small time drug dealer.

He was a wholesaler, they say, a dealer who bought his synthetic marijuana in California, repackaged it at an Amherst warehouse and resold it across New York State.

Al-Arashi, 34, of Williamsville, was charged Wednesday after a search of his Ridge Lea Road warehouse turned up 30,000 packets of the drug, federal law enforcement officials said.

“In essence, this was a one-stop shop,” said Dale Kasprzyk, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Buffalo, “not just in the retail area, but the wholesale area as well.”

Kasprzyk said the investigation into Al-Arashi started with phone calls from suspicious parents, many of them with young children hospitalized after using the drug.

On top of that, his office received a report from the DEA office in Los Angeles several months ago that a suspected shipment of synthetic marijuana was headed for Buffalo.

According to court papers, the shipment was delivered to Town Tobacco, Al-Arashi’s store at 3407 Delaware Ave. in the Town of Tonawanda.

“We combined all that information together and began to learn that Mr. Al-Arashi was the owner, operator and manager of the operation,” Kasprzyk said at news conference today.

The operation, he said, turned out to be bigger than Town Tobacco or Al-Arashi’s other store, Welcome, Welcome at 140 Main St. in North Tonawanda.

“This is believed to be the biggest synthetic marijuana seizure in Western New York history by a factor of two,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.

Investigators said they also seized four of Al-Arashi’s bank accounts, which combined held about $725,000, as well as about $50,000 worth of silver bars and coins found in his Williamsville home.

Al-Arashi is charged with possession and distribution of a controlled substance analogue and made his first court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder.

Hochul said his office has alerted Schroeder to the possibility that the synthetic marijuana sold by Al-Arashi may have caused harm to some of the people who bought it at his two stores.

If there are people who suffered physical harm because of the drug, Al-Arashi could face a more severe penalty when and if he’s convicted and sentenced, Hochul said.

That sentence could be up to life in prison, although a more lenient sentence would be likely under federal sentencing guidelines.

Hochul said police have received reports of young people being hospitalized after using drugs bought at Al-Arashi’s stores.

They include a woman who claims her son spent time in the psychiatric unit at Erie County Medical Center after using synthetic marijuana bought at Town Tobacco, the U.S. attorney said.

Investigators said Al-Arashi sold the synthetic marijuana in bright colored packages with names such as “Pump It,”  “Tiger Shack” and California Dreams.”

Al-Arashi’s arrest is the result of an investigation by the DEA and New York State Police, as well as Cheektowaga, Amherst, Town of Tonawanda and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police.

Law enforcement officials said their investigation is ongoing and may include additional arrests in the Rochester area.

Synthetic Marijuana Gives Users Legal High


Across the country, demand for a synthetic form of marijuana is soaring. Unlike the real thing, this drug – called spice or K2 – is legal in most states. Now, a handful of lawmakers are taking action. This week Missouri became the sixth state to ban the use of K2.

It’s a designer drug fad fueled online, CBS News Correspondent Seth Doane reports. Brian Siegal first heard about it from friends and then saw it on the Internet.

“The word gets out so quickly and just spreads like wildfire,” Siegel said.

It has names like spice and genie but is mostly known as K2, providing a high likened to marijuana. If you have not heard of it yet, staffers at places such as the Georgia Poison Center sure have, fielding more than 50 calls about K2 in the last two months.

“We started seeing a mushrooming of calls,” Dr. Gaylor Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, said.

Nationwide, more than 500 people have phoned poison centers about the drug already this year, up from just 12 calls last year.

The synthetic marijuana is packaged in brightly colored bags and may only look harmless.

“This is incredibly dangerous,” Lopez said.

K2 can be up to 15 times more powerful than marijuana and lead to a disturbing range of symptoms, Lopez said.

“We’ve seen people with slight tremors to even seizure activity,” Lopez said.

Still, K2 is legal in 44 states and easy to get anywhere. The six states banning the drug are Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri. Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York are considering bans.

“You can order it online, and you can get it in magazines,” said Siegel. “Very easy to get.”

It’s not detected by drug-tests either.

“It’s like a dream come true for an addict,” Jason Schmider, a K2 drug user, said.

Schmider tried the drug more than 50 times until he wound up in the hospital, he said.

“That was the final straw,” he said.

Then, he found himself at drug treatment center called Phoenix House outside New York City.

Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to learn what’s in the drug itself. CBS News was granted rare access at a special testing facility near Washington, D.C.

‘They’ll market it as incense, or bath salts,” DEA Special Agent Gary Boggs said.

Tests are part of deciding whether spice and K2 should be a controlled substance, Boggs said.

“The fact that they’re legal really is almost irrelevant,” said Boggs. “People are just basically playing Russian roulette with these every time they take them.”

That’s a gamble that means months of rehab for Schmider.

“It was like the scariest moment of my life,” said Schmider. “It’s not worth it.”