Capitol murder for synthetic drug deaths

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Updated: 10/17/2012 10:15 am Published: 10/15/2012 8:05 pm

Designer drug overdoses are increasing and more young people are winding up in the hospital.

In 2011, two Oklahoma teens died at a party in Konawa in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma. They ingested the synthetic drug 2-Bromo Dragonfly, known to mimic ecstasy.

FOX23 News videojournalist Michael Barber was able to buy three grams of Morpheus Remastered from the Independence Smoke Shop near East Pine and N. Lewis in Tulsa. The product is only used as a prop for the story.

FOX23 News was told the store is on Indian land, so the owner is only required to answer to federal law.

On the packaging it said ‘not for human consumption’ and directions on how to burn it like an incense or potpourri.

However, many users buy it to smoke as a synthetic drug. On November 1st, dealers or sellers could face capitol murder charges if someone dies from a synthetic drug.

In the last year, high school students in Tahlequah and Broken Arrow and other schools across Oklahoma were overdosing on synthetic drugs.

In the last month, two students at the University of Central Oklahoma were hospitalized after taking synthetic drugs. 

Cody Weddle was sentenced to ten years in prison after he entered a blind plea on second degree murder charges involving two students who died after taking Bramo Dragonfly. Six others survived.

"If my kids did that or someone that knew I would want the person responsible for what happened,” said Tulsa mother Teresa McClain. "It's just like going out and shooting someone or killing someone."

That’s why state lawmakers expanded capitol murder to synthetic drug dealers or sellers if anyone dies from a synthetic.

"It's slippery slope, if you are selling it and you know there is a chance that there is an agent in there that could kill someone it's just like a holding a gun,” said Tulsa father Casey Graves.

An 18-year-old boy said he nearly lost a friend after he smoked fake pot.

"He was throwing up and if we didn't get him up he would have choked on his own puke,” said Nicholas Taylor.

The synthetic drug market is taking over. Nationwide calls to poison controls jumped more than 300% in the last year.

"It's still a drug. It's a still a drug no matter what and it should be illegal,” said Taylor.

When FOX23 bought Morpheus Remastered from the smoke shope no one asked for identification and when asked about what “potpourri” they had the clerk pointed to the sign next to the window.  There was a list of incense posted on the building.

FOX23’s Abbie Alford called the shop after the purchase.

Alford: "I was wondering is that legal?”

Clerk: “I don't give out any information over the phone.”

Alford: “Can I come by?”

Clerk: “No, ma'am.”

Alford: “Can I come by and talk to you guys?”

Clerk: “No, you sure can't."

The clerk then hung up the phone.

"If you can buy it in a convenience store, doesn't matter if it is in on Indian land or if it is on any land it's a bad day,” Graves.

Senate Bill 987 also expands to illegal drug makers. For example, if a meth explosion kills a person the meth maker could face First-Degree Murder charges.

Currently, it is Second-Degree Murder or less and a lesser sentence. First-Degree Murder is punishable by death or a life in prison sentence in Oklahoma.

Many synthetic drug makers get around the law by selling it as an incense and altering the ingredients.

The 300 chemicals found in synthetic drugs are now considered Scheduled I illegal substances, and possession or sales of these products can result in felony charges and a prison term of 1 to 10 years.

The law will expand the list of chemicals found in synthetic drugs on November 1st.

An OBN spokesperson said it is illegal to sell it to get high and how they have it displayed can be illegal. Hidden behind a counter or the price is jacked up such as a small package of “potpourri” for $30 or a small container of bath salts can be sold for $40, that too can be considered illegal.

In June, federal lawmakers passed a ban on 31 chemicals used in bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

The law outlawed two common substances in bath salts, MDVP and Mephedrone.

It also includes the ban on 20 chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana and eight chemicals found in synthetic hallucinogens

To report the illegal sale of synthetic drugs you can contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics at 1-800-522-8031 or by clicking on the attached link.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

anonymous1 - 2/9/2013 12:36 AM
1 Vote
Please boycott the Independence Smoke Shop, And ziggies off of Peoria and also the peace pipe smoke shop in owasso. I have a family member who quit smoking pot because he worried about losing his job over a failed drug test. A friend convinced him to this "aromatic potpourri" called remix. He was instantly addicted. He purchased his first bag the next day, a 1 gram bag of remix for 15 bucks. it lasted him a couple, few days and he went back for another. This rapidly escalated until about 3 months later when he checked into the emergency room for severe stomach cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. It turns out that the chemical in this stuff is causing acute pancreatitis which can be deadly. The sad thing and perhaps the scariest thing is that after discovering this and spending all night in the hospital, he broke down and purchased a new bag the next day! this stuff has a stranglehold on his life now and I'm afraid he is going to die. Not to mention I estimated that he spent roughly 1500 dollars on this stuff in that 3 month span putting him in a big hole financially. I'm concerned that eventually after someone who is addicted to this stuff runs out of the money to buy more what will they resort to?? They don't care about killing themselves or going bankrupt so whats going to stop them from eventually robbing or killing people for it. Now the public is at risk! we must stand up against this. These smoke shops are basically selling heroin over the counter right here in our sweet home of Tulsa and I'm sure globally by now .

CowBot9000 - 10/17/2012 5:48 PM
0 Votes
Capitol murder? People will be charged with murdering a government building?

aleman - 10/17/2012 3:39 PM
1 Vote
I don't smoke pot and it probably should be legal,but why do I feel if it were legal a lot of people would quit smoking it?We don't need bath salts and fake pot, damned strange chemicals ,imagine what strange cancers these will cause in the future that the taxpayer will pay for.Really don't care if you drink gasoline to get high as long as you work and pay for the consequences yourself.

Unwashed Mass - 10/16/2012 11:30 PM
1 Vote
If people viewed real marijuana more realistically, and handled it responsibly, there would be no market for synthetic drugs.

aleman - 10/16/2012 4:57 PM
0 Votes
That's what we need more bath salts and fake pot

Unwashed Mass - 10/16/2012 10:58 AM
1 Vote
Just an overly-broad, feel-good law to get someone re-elected.

TKoupe - 10/16/2012 9:38 AM
1 Vote
It says "not for human consumption". So when humans consume it, who's fault is that? Oh yeah, and bath tubs have killed more people this year than synthetic pot that you're not supposed to injest. This is just more dumb American hype, irrational, twisted and bizarre risk-reward balancing that Americans seem to be afflicted with more than most developing countries. They'll freak over a handful of deaths over fake pot, but shrug their shoulders over three hundred deaths by bath tub. That's America for ya. Land of the regulated, home of the coward...and the dumb.

aleman - 10/16/2012 4:21 AM
0 Votes
Back in the 90s Wal-Mart was aware that Native Americans were huffing the gold spray as it had the ingredient needed to get high on there would be ten cans of gold paint to one of the others on their shelves...yea they were responsible,huh?If you sell bad moonshine that kills people it is murder same difference.

Gladys Crump - 10/16/2012 12:12 AM
0 Votes
I'm pretty sure they are only talking about things sold which normally require identification to verify you are old enough to buy, I had to show ID when I bought spray paint the other day,not all stores do this, but they should, and if they sell to anyone under legal age they should be charged IMO. If it is a federal law why are the tobacco shops still getting away with selling it anyway? Or anyone for that matter? Cops too busy doing other things to bust them or what?

Unwashed Mass - 10/15/2012 11:40 PM
1 Vote
So if some teen huffs some paint, WalMart can be charged with First Degree Murder? How about charging Air Assurance because someone got high on the freon in an air conditioner? This is a bad law that wont stand a constitutional challenge because it is way too broad to put someone to death over vague circumstances.
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