Weatherford Democrat

Top News

September 3, 2012

$26,000 worth of 'synthetic marijuana' seized by officials

PARKER COUNTY — Making the first major arrests Friday for K2 distribution in Parker County since a state law went into effect a year ago outlawing the substance, the Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit has charged the owner and clerk of a Parker County store and seized about 7 pounds of the synthetic marijuana.

 Investigators executed a search warrant Friday evening at Tobacco & More in the 3000 block of Ranger Highway and arrested store owner Francisco Don Uduwarage, 40, and clerk Sanka Dilhara Welihinda, 27, on felony charges.

“From the records which were seized, we can accurately state the suspects were making a daily average profit of $3,100,” SCU Commander, sheriff’s Lt. Mike Camp said. “At least 95 percent of those sales were directly from K2.”

Both men told investigators they knew the products were illegal to sell and kept the K2 hidden within the store, selling it only to trusted, known customers, according to the sheriff’s office.

SCU investigators seized 890 K2 packages, equaling 3,096 grams, according to the sheriff’s office. Packages sold for $30 to $50, making the street value price of the seized K2 at least $26,700.

Although the product packages state K2 is not for human consumption, Uduwarage reportedly told investigators that those who purchased K2 also purchased products used to smoke it.

“It is clearly obvious what the main intended sales of the store was,” Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said. “The condition of the store presented possible health hazards. K-2 and some tobacco sales were the main products being sold. There was a very minimal amount of other merchandise distributed.”

K2 enforcement

SCU members stated law enforcement officials have been “behind the curve” when it comes to building and prosecuting similar cases as well as identifying K2 due to lack of laboratory testing.

“Proper testing is now currently available and has proven beneficial to local and state cases,” Camp said. “This is a monumental win for law enforcement and state prosecutors.”

Investigators did a previous undercover buy at the address and were able to confirm that packages of Diablo and King Kong contained the outlawed ingredients, according to Parker County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Danie Huffman. The remainder of seized packages will have to be submitted for lab testing, she said.

Pursuing K2 cases has been time consuming and difficult because the legislature outlawed only certain specific chemical compounds last year, law enforcement and prosecutors say.

Manufacturers who change the chemical composition of the synthetic marijuana sold may not fall under current laws and tests of the product for illegal substances return negative.

Investigators face a challenge because they don’t yet have a field test for the illegal substances, like they do for methamphetamine and other drugs, and have been submitting evidence to be tested in a labratory before seeking an arrest.

Things have been further delayed locally because the DPS Crime Lab in Abilene, where drugs seized in Parker County are tested, was down for a couple months, creating a backlog and delaying drug cases up to six months, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain told the Democrat last month.

Though the list of chemicals made illegal is extensive, Swain said he expects legislators may have to add to the law every legislature to keep up with the manufacturers.

One Weatherford group has recently been raising public awareness on the issue of K2 sales in the Weatherford and Parker County area.

Darren Donaldson of IFC Wellness Coalition gave a presentation to the Weatherford City Council on Aug. 14 about the dangers of K2, bath salts and other types of drugs.

“It’s 10 times the potency of marijuana today,” Donaldson said of K2. Calls to poison control about K2 have increased in recent years, he said.

“Just in the past couple weeks while this has been on our front burner, almost everybody I talk to about this has told me a story about someone they know about something that happened in their front yard or to their neighbor’s kid or at school,” Donaldson said.

Police Chief Mike Manning told the council in August that they have three cases currently in the district attorney’s office pending indictment against distributors.

“Our [city] ordinance is now outdated,” Manning said regarding the city’s regulation of the issue prior to the state law that went into effect last year.

Up until recently there were no lab tests available so they could make a buy and submit the evidence but couldn’t get lab results, Manning said.

The technology is starting to catch up but as the technology catches up, they develop a new analogue, Manning said.

Weatherford police have been making buys since Sept. 1, 2011, when the law went into effect, according to Manning.

The state legislature is currently looking at writing a different type of law where they wouldn’t have to worry about analogues, he said.

Locally, the issue with bath salts, outlawed at the same time, has not gone away but has died off, Manning said, adding that there is a problem with synthetic cannabinoids.

Text Only
Top News
  • students.jpg Is opting out an option?

    One local parent has taken it upon herself to make her voice heard. Michelle Osterkamp, who has two children attending Mary Martin Elementary, began to research the opt-out method after talking with some of her teacher friends.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Biz Index 1.jpg Let's get physical

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EXTENSION NEWS: Take a mind vacation

    For many of us, every day has some sort of stress associated with it. Whether it is something at home or at work, it seems like there are a million things stressing us out and making us feel overwhelmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • VETERANS’ CORNER: Veterans’ needs the target of recent discussions

    Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States completed a series of meetings April 8-11 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., discussing the latest research, best practices and various areas of collaboration to address the growing needs of veterans.

    April 20, 2014

  • MILLSAP MATTERS: Reunion time approaches

    MILLSAP – For many people this is the time of year that reunions are held. In that light, Millsap alumni will be enjoying their annual school reunion on Saturday, April 26.

    April 20, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: The fox and the hound, plus Max

    Almost without exception, most farms are protected to some degree by guard animals. Dogs and cats are most commonly used to defend against intruders and nuisance pests around the farmstead. In recent years with the proliferation of coyotes, many folks are using guard donkeys or llamas to protect their livestock.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Laws can’t be ignored

    Senator Harry Reid said, “We just can’t let people ignore the law.”

    April 20, 2014

  • Taste of Parker County logo.jpg Canyon West to host Taste of Parker County

    Prepare your taste buds, because the sixth annual Taste of Parker County is just a few short weeks away, and this year’s event has moved to a larger location to accommodate even more great eats and treats.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0420 one USAF riders IMG_7940.jpg Riding high

    Members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team, preparing to participate in the 12th annual Ride for Heroes in Aledo Saturday, met Friday with their supporters — members of the Bush Legacy Republican Women of Weatherford — for a pre-ride photo shoot at the historic courthouse followed by pre-ride carbo loading at Milano’s in Willow Park.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand jury indictments for April returned

    A Parker County grand jury on Thursday indicted a man accused of breaking into his neighbor’s home and threatening him with a BB gun before engaging in a brief standoff with deputies.

    April 19, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Don't care
     View Results