Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Gang and Narcotics Division investigators in conjunction with the Central Area Narcotics Enforcement Detail have arrested five individuals associated with the distribution and sales of “spice” in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.
The use of synthetic cannabinoids, a type of manufactured drug that is sprayed onto plant material and smoked like a cigarette or marijuana, has significantly increased in the City of Los Angeles over recent months. This drug, often referred to as “spice”, is far less expensive and far more potent than natural marijuana and can often cause serious side effects, such as loss of consciousness, paranoia, tachycardia and psychotic episodes. Over recent months, there have been numerous overdoses related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids among the homeless population in Skid Row, with two mass overdose incidents in the area last week that resulted in over fifty people being transported to the hospital.
On August 31, 2016, around 12:00pm, five individuals were arrested in the area of Fifth Street and San Pedro Street for possession of synthetic cannabinoids “spice” for sale by LAPD narcotics investigators. Subsequent to the arrest of these individuals, an additional location in South Los Angeles was identified as one of the possible sources where the “Spice” was manufactured and then distributed in the Skid Row area. A follow-up investigation was conducted and a search warrant was served at the location where investigators recovered; money, controlled substances and other precursor chemicals used in the making of “spice.” Due to the on-going nature of this investigation, no further information is being provided at this time.
These arrests are significant due to the fact that these individuals targeted the homeless residents of Skid Row by providing an inexpensive alternative to other drugs that in many cases caused the user to develop life threatening side effects. Many of these medical emergencies required the response of emergency medical services and transport to local area emergency rooms. The LAPD along with local community groups will continue to disseminate health warning information in a continuing effort to reduce the number of “spice” related overdoses and to educate the public of the dangers of illicit “spice” usage.
For further information regarding this incident, please contact Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.