1,000 Packets of Synthetic Marijuana and Its Chemical Analogues Seized.
Albany, NY - September 28, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that three men in Central Islip were arrested and charged in a federal indictment for drug trafficking conspiracy and drug trafficking. The arrests and charges that were made are part of a joint federal and state enforcement effort to combat the illegal sale of K2 in communities throughout New York - and resulted in the seizure of 1,000 packets of synthetic marijuana and its chemical analogues. In addition to the arrests, the State Health Commissioner is issuing orders to immediately close the establishment found to be selling these illegal substances.
"Synthetic drugs pose an alarming public health risk - but we are aggressively combatting the rise of these dangerous substances in every corner of the state," Governor Cuomo said. "Make no mistake: selling this poison is illegal and we will continue to do everything in our power to crack down on sellers and hold accountable those who continue to break the law."
The New York State Police, working in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York seized 1,000 packets of synthetic marijuana and its chemical analogues from Eyup Gas & Convenience Store, located at 2664 Route 112 in Medford.
Samples of the seized products were analyzed by the Department of Health's Wadsworth Center laboratory in Albany, and tested positive for FUB-PB-22, XLR11, NM2201, MMB-FUBINACA, AB-CHMINACA - five synthetic cannabinoids, as defined in Section 9.1 of Title 10 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
Following the arrest, Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker immediately moved to close the store.
Osman Ak, 45 of Holbrook and the owner of the store, was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and substantive acts of drug trafficking in connection with their sale of controlled substances over several years.
Murat Ak, 35 of Holbrook and a store clerk was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and substantive acts of drug trafficking in connection with their sale of controlled substances over several years.
Mehmet Akpinar, 51 of Nesconset and a store clerk was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and substantive acts of drug trafficking in connection with their sale of controlled substances over several years.
An indictment is merely an allegation, an all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
To combat the scourge of K2, the Governor will advance legislation to add 35 types of synthetics to the state controlled substances list, subjecting those who manufacture or sell these drugs to criminal drug penalties and equipping law enforcement with the tools they need to get to the source. The 35 substances are already listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances. The legislation will also give the New York State Health Commissioner the authority to add to the state controlled substances schedule any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Synthetic drugs endanger the health of users and have no place being sold in our communities. In partnership with our state and federal partners, we have seized a large quantity of synthetics, and charged those responsible for trafficking these dangerous drugs in Suffolk County. This case sends a strong message that we will not tolerate the sale of synthetic drugs anywhere in New York State."
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Synthetic Cannabinoids are extremely dangerous and can not only have significant immediate and long term health effects, but also potentially fatal consequences for users. Through Governor Cuomo's vigilance we're ridding our streets of this poison and protecting the health and safety of our state."
Last July, New York stepped up statewide enforcement efforts to ensure that businesses fully comply with all applicable laws, including the 2012 emergency regulations banning the manufacture, sale, and distribution of synthetic marijuana. Additionally, the Governor directed that the Department of Health's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the State Liquor Authority and the New York State Gaming Commission increase their oversight efforts and revoke store owners' liquor and lottery licenses if they are found to be illegally peddling K2. The State continues to vigorously pursue all available civil, criminal, and administrative remedies against any business or business owner found to be manufacturing, possessing for sale or selling illegal synthetic marijuana.
Under current law, an owner of an establishment, as well as any other person possessing, distributing, selling or offering prohibited synthetic marijuana for sale, will face a fine up to $500 and/or up to 15 days in jail. Civil penalties include a fine up to $2,000 per violation.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed as legal and typically consists of plant material coated by chemicals, which are supposed to mimic THC, the active chemical compound in naturally grown marijuana. The drugs are marketed as incense, herbal mixtures, or potpourri in order to mask their true purpose. Brand names for substances include Spice, K2, Green Giant, Smacked, Wicked X, AK-47, Geeked Up, Ninja, Caution, Red Giant, Scooby Snax, and Keisha Kole.