Synthetic cannabis operation busted by narcotics, vice investigators

Corpus Christi police arrested two people accused of dealing synthetic cannabis Thursday morning while serving a search and arrest warrant in the 1000 block of 18th Street.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Corpus Christi police arrested two people accused of dealing synthetic cannabis Thursday morning while serving a search and arrest warrant in the 1000 block of 18th Street.

The Corpus Christi Police Department's Narcotics and Vice Investigators executed the search warrant at 9 a.m. Thursday with the assistance of the CCPD bike patrol. During a search of the residence they found a half-ounce of synthetic cannabis, 10 grams of THC wax, packaging materials, surveillance equipment and more than $27,000 in cash.

21-year-old Ramon Lopez and 22-year-old Emily Marines were both arrested and charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 2, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

According to police, the home was located in the area where several serious synthetic cannabis overdoses had been reported in recent weeks. Investigators initially believed the residence may have been the source of the illegal substance, so they increased their efforts to investigate.

"Although we have not established a direct link between this residence and the overdoses, based upon the amount of traffic at the residence, the packaging materials, and the amount of cash seized, we believe it was a significant source of synthetic cannabis in that area," Commander Todd Green said. "Once this residence came up on our radar, NVID investigators worked very quickly along with our Patrol Division officers to shut this operation down. I'm very proud of their efforts and teamwork."

Police said synthetic cannabis, sometimes referred to as "legal" or "Kush", can cause serious and sometimes fatal reactions in users. It's frequently used by the homeless population and contributes to quality of life issues like public intoxication, thefts and panhandling, as well as more serious crimes like prostitution, assaults and robberies.

Corpus Christi police said synthetic cannabis accounted for about 43-percent of all misdemeanor drug arrests in this city in 2016.

© 2017 KIII-TV


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