CCPD Narcotics/Vice Investigators shut down another synthetic cannabis dealer Thursday morning on the near west side.  At approximately 9:00 am, NVID Officers, assisted by the CCPD Bike Patrol, served a search and arrest warrant at a residence on the 1000 block of Eighteenth Street.   During the search, officers found and seized approximately one half ounce of synthetic cannabis product, 10 grams of THC “wax”, packaging materials, surveillance equipment, and over $27,000 in cash.  Arrested were Ramon Lopez (DOB:7-1-1995) and Emily Marines (DOB:10-17-1994).  Both were charged under the Texas Health and Safety Code with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 2, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

The home was located near where several serious synthetic cannabis related overdoses had been reported in recent weeks.  NVID Investigators initially suspected that the residence may have been the source of the tainted product and stepped up their efforts to shut it down. The search warrant on Thursday was the culmination of that investigation.  “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,” said NVID Commander Todd Green. “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.”

Sometimes referred to as “legal” or “Kush”, synthetic cannabis can cause serious, sometimes fatal, reactions in users.   The drug is frequently abused by the homeless population, contributing to numerous quality of life issues including public intoxication, thefts, and panhandling, as well as more serious crimes such as prostitution, assaults, and robberies.  Synthetic cannabis accounted for approximately 43% of all misdemeanor drug arrests by Corpus Christi Police Officers in 2016.  Thus far this year, perhaps due to an increased emphasis on targeting the dealers, the percentage has dropped to 36 %.