HOUSTON - Authorities call it an epidemic. Kush users have overwhelmed police officers and emergency rooms around the Houston area.
“If you're listening to me right now and you are using Kush, you need to stop,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson at a press conference. “It's like Russian roulette: your next smoke could be your last.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Sylvester Turner put together a task force to not only stop people from using synthetic marijuana, but to stop Kush at the source.
“I've also given instructions to the city to start cleaning up in many of these areas where people are either using Kush or are in transient population areas…to go into those areas and clean those areas up,” Turner said.
An anonymous tip led to an undercover investigation and eventually the arrests of Naushad Pradhan and Rafeeq Panjvany. The two men were considered major distributors of synthetic marijuana in Houston, and authorities say the amount seized had an estimated street value of $406,000.
As the crackdown on distributors and stores continues, so does the rounding up of Kush users pulled off the streets and taken to sobering centers where counselors work to find them housing and substance abuse help.
But as Turner points out, the fight against Kush is far from over.
“As we clean up in one area, then people are moving to another and that’s going to continue to be the case,” he said. “Our approach is dynamic enough that we will move to where the problem is.”
Both suspects recently arrested made their first appearance in court Monday. They are charged with first-degree felonies. Their bonds have been sent at $800,000 each, and they are both still behind bars.
(© 2016 KHOU)