HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Most Houston residents had never heard of the stuff until a mass overdose was reported at Hermann Park in June. More than a dozen people were taken to hospitals and the City of Houston declared war. The Houston Police Department is now saying that it has won a significant battle with a major operation.
"From June, when we began this major initiative, til' now is one of the largest seizures that we've had so I'd say its a major distributor.” said HPD Sgt. Marcia Todd. From an as of yet unnamed distributor in an unnamed location, but more than 350 pounds seized. That's around 14,000 packets. The bag displayed on the table during the news conference was just part of the haul.
The fight is about more than just seizures. City leaders cite a two-thirds reduction in the amount of Kush-related medical calls as proof that they are making progress.
The Texas legislature has helped. Kush, also known as synthetic marijuana, can come in different recipes. In the last session, the legislature passed a law to keep up with the dealers who were constantly tweaking the formula.
“It's now so restrictive that if you don't have the exact chemical mix, you can't file charges," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was a state legislator at the time. "It doesn't have to be so exact anymore.”
But the dealers have other tricks up their sleeves like going after children like Emily Bauer. The Cypress-area teen overdosed and almost died in 2012 from stuff she bought in a convenience store. The freshly-seized packets have names like Gravedigger, Geeked and Scuby Snax.
"This is how sick the dealers are," said a visibly-angry HPD Chief Art Acevedo. "These stores are, that they're designing packages with the absolute hope that they can get young people to start.”