Raid of market turns up illegal synthetic marijuana

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Police were led to Ted's Market after users of the powerful drug crashed their car

By Staff Reports


INDEPENDENCE — When two teens crashed their car after becoming highly intoxicated on a substance they smoked, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on a local market and found drug paraphernalia and banned herbal items that simulate the effects of marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana products like “Blueberry Kush,” “Voodoo” and “Purple Diesel” are illegal in Virginia.
Also known as herbal incense, “spice” or K2, the synthetic marijuana consists of chemically treated plants that produce a high when smoked. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation making possession or sale of the substances a crime.
According to Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan, Deputy Alan Graham responded to an incident on April 14 where a car crashed into an occupied vehicle and the driver and passenger fled the scene.
Graham located the suspect vehicle and observed it driving in circles on Grayson County School Board property. He identified the driver and passenger to be juveniles.
“Deputy Graham found that the two were disoriented, incoherent at times, and appeared highly intoxicated,” Vaughan said.
The juveniles told Graham that they had just smoked a substance they purchased that morning from the Marathon Station known as Ted’s Market.
The juveniles told police that they asked for a product sold under the name “Skyscraper” and, for $40, the cashier sold him a substance that was retrieved from a box behind the counter.
“The two began smoking the substance in a pipe shortly after leaving the store,” Vaughan said. “The juveniles related that the high was almost immediate and intense and that his driving became a lot more difficult.
“At one point the juveniles decided to change drivers, but neither of them was in any condition to be driving. The driver reported that he confused the gas and brake pedals, drove on the wrong side of the road, drove too fast and struck an occupied vehicle before hitting a fence and a school building.”
The juveniles also told the deputy that, as a result of smoking the substance, they became confused, nauseous, hallucinogenic and were blacking out.
Graham seized a smoking device and the substance reportedly purchased from Ted’s Market from the center console of the vehicle.
The green leafy substance in question was contained in a package bearing the writing: KUSH 7H, 3 gram, NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS.
Based on Graham’s training and experience, he believed it to be a type of synthetic marijuana that contained a substance controlled in Virginia.
Graham charged the driver for reckless driving and referred the case to investigators.
On April 16, a search warrant was issued to search the premises of Ted’s Market, at 6853 Wilson Highway.
Vaughan said officers found several boxes of pipes and paraphernalia behind the sales counter, priced between $7.99 and $14.99.
“These items were identified as paraphernalia associated with illegal substances.  Ziploc storage bags containing different brands of herbal substances were also found,” the sheriff said.
The following items were seized:
• 296 Smoking devices commonly used
  for illegal substances
• three digital scales, new in box
• one box of brass pipe screens
• four boxes of JOB rolling papers
• two Laramie Shoot-o-Matic rolling machines
• one box of copper screen scour pads
• one stash container disguised as a can of Coke
• 47 unopened 1-gram bags of Venom
  extra potent herb
• seven unopened 1-gram bags of
  Blueberry Kush herb
• 14 unopened 3-gram bags of Purple Diesel herbs
• two unopened 1-gram bags of LAVA 3XTREME
• one unopened 3-gram bag of Voodoo herbs
• 16 unopened 3-gram bags of KUSH 7H herbs
• 13 stash capsules labeled “ID holder”
• one plastic bag containing Voodoo paraphernalia
Vaughan said the clerk at Ted’s Market “admitted selling some of the herbal substance to a slim boy, but didn’t know how old he was.”
When asked what the boy requested, the clerk told police that the boy asked for “smoking pouches.”
“Some of the pouches of herbal substances were labeled as a potpourri or incense, however there were no potpourri burners, incense burners or instructions for their use available,” the sheriff said.
The synthetic marijuana will be submitted to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for chemical analysis. Additional charges are pending.
Vaughan said that parents and guardians should educate their children to the dangers of ingesting any substances that are not prescribed to them by a medical doctor.
“We are very concerned about the availability of synthetic marijuana in our area,” he said. “Anyone with information regarding the sale of synthetic marijuana should report it to law enforcement.”
Vaughan recalls that the drug first came to local law enforcement’s attention in 2010, when a man from Grayson County overdosed on the substance. “The young man smoked the exotic herbs and it caused him to have hallucinations and to be disoriented for days.”
Tim Carden, resident agent in charge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Roanoke, said these products are vegetable material sprayed with a laboratory copy of marijuana’s active ingredient. Unlike marijuana’s THC, the fake drug causes greater agitation and anxiety, an accelerated heart rate and sometimes seizures, Carden said.
“Anytime these people put these unregulated and uncontrolled drugs into their bodies, they’re truly playing Russian roulette,” Carden warned.