Synthetic marijuana known as K2 has been linked to two deaths and at least 56 illnesses in Chicago in recent weeks and on Monday, cops busted a convenience store selling packets of the deadly substance that were reportedly laced with rat poison.
Three men are now facing 20 years in prison for their roles in an alleged operation to sell synthetic marijuana out of the King Mini Mart, the Chicago Tribune reported. Store owner Fouad Masoud and his employees Jamil Abdelrahman Jad Allah and Adil Khan Mohammed were busted after an undercover cop purchased the drug over the counter.
Batches of K2 discovered Monday were branded with names like “Crazy Monkey,” “Blue Giant” and “Matrix,” according to a federal complaint. The batches later tested positive for brodifacoum, a toxic chemical commonly used in rodent killer.
The synthetic drug, which is made entirely of man-made chemicals designed to mimic a marijuana high, has reportedly left some users bleeding out of their eyes, ears and even their mouths. Officials said nine people affected by the outbreak caused by the synthetic pot have also tested positive for the chemical.
Allah and Mohammed were arrested Sunday afternoon, according to the Tribune. Masoud was snatched by police later that evening, as he left his home with a grocery bag stuffed with $280,000 cash. Authorities searched his home and found 2,900 grams of suspected synthetic pot labeled for sale as “Purple Giant.”
Illinois health officials have been dealing with illnesses related to the K2 outbreak since March 10. Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health said the two deaths happened as a result of synthetic marijuana use while 56 others across the state have been hospitalized. It’s unclear whether the source of all the K2 illnesses can be linked to Masoud and the King Mini Mart, however.
Mousoud will be held until a detention hearing Thursday while Allah and Mohammed will go before a judge Tuesday, the Tribune reported.