Late on Wednesday, police confiscated as many as two million packets of K2 in the East Bronx, according to a CBS New York report, which claimed the bust was part of last week’s federal indictment against 10 K2 suppliers operating a drug ring involving all five boroughs. On Twitter, the NYPD said the packets were worth as much as $10 million.
K2, or “spice,” is a synthetic cannabinoid meant to simulate the effects of marijuana but is sending scores of users to emergency rooms and causing deaths, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a related CBS New York report.
“[K2 is] made by spraying a variety of chemicals, mostly from China, onto leafy materials,” Bharara told reporters at a news conference last week, CBS reported. “Then once dried, the leaves are put into small packets with colorful logos and catchy brand names such as ‘Black Giant,’ ‘Geeked Up’ and ‘Scooby Snacks.’”
Using or selling K2 is not a crime in New York City, but authorities were able to bring charges associated with breaking federal laws concerning the importation of synthetic compounds, CBS stated in the report.
The involvement of the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security reinforced the international scope of the K2 crackdown.
“In fact, some experts say that China is becoming to spice what Colombia has been to cocaine and what Afghanistan has been to heroin,” Bharara was quoted by CBS. “This stuff is not marijuana. It can produce severe and sometimes lethal effects,” he said.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito plans to introduce a bill to make the sale of K2 a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, CBS reported.