Three persons, including the reported owner of an Asher convenience store, have been arrested in an undercover bust involving the sale of K2 or "Spice," a synthetic — and illegal — form of marijuana, the sheriff reports.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said a tip led deputies, along with a drug task force agent and Asher police, to the Circle B store at 815 S. Highway 177 in Asher.
"We received a tip they were selling the synthetic K2 drug out of there — it's sometimes called Spice or potpourri," the sheriff said, adding "it's very dangerous."
Three were arrested in the case; formal charges have not been filed.
Based on the tip, law enforcement officers set up an undercover buy and purchased two packages of K2 from the reported owner of the store, who Booth identified as Young Soon Kim, 58.
Once the purchase was made and authorities began to secure the store, a second person, Joon Hee Kim, 31, walked in carrying a similar bag, Booth said. Inside that bag were 35 more individual bags of synthetic marijuana, Booth said.
Both were arrested, along with a store employee, Rebecca Rock, 50, Booth said.
The sheriff said the 3-gram packages were being sold for $20 each. The store, on average, was selling six packages each day, he reported. Booth also said the investigation indicates sales had been ongoing the past six months.
After a search of the store, which also included a residence, Booth said 20 more packages of the synthetic marijuana were found.
Undersheriff Travis Palmer said K2 effects can be stronger than marijuana and it is considered an illegal Schedule I drug.
Young Kim was arrested on a complaint of distribution of CDS and possession of drug proceeds, Booth said, while Joon Kim was held on a complaint of possession of CDS with intent to distribute. Rock was held on a complaint of conspiracy to distribute CDS, Booth said. According to jail records, Rock was released from custody on a recognizance bond while Young Kim and Joon Kim each posted a $5,000 bond on Friday.
As part of the investigation, the sheriff said authorities seized about $4,800 in proceeds along with vehicles.
Because K2 is a relatively new problem in this area, deputies, and even local drug agents, haven't dealt with it all that much, Booth said. But there's been countless reports in other cities and states about the synthetic drug.
According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, K2 is the brand name for a synthetic blend of ethno botanicals found in herbs and plants and it is usually blended into a smokeable product that looks like a cross between marijuana, oregano, and tobacco, with users reporting a euphoric experience lasting from 30 minutes to one hour.
Page 2 of 2 - According to reports online, K2 or Spice is sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, with reports indicating the "high" can last one to eight hours. In addition to physical signs of use, users have reported other symptoms, such as paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and increased agitation.
Booth said this investigation and the subsequent arrests were all because of a tip and they rely on the public's help in these instances.
"The tip paid off," Booth said. "We depend on the eyes and ears of good citizens to make our communities safer."
Booth said K2 is dangerous, especially for youth.
"There's enough of it out there to be dangerous to kids and affect their lives, future, safety and health," Booth said.
The case will be turned over to the district attorney's office for consideration of any formal charges.
Watch for updates.