CLUTE, Texas -- A 16-year-old Brazoswood High School student is dead, and police believe what killed him is a man-made drug that continues to pose a threat to people across the country.
Synthetic marijuana, also referred to by a number of street names including Kush and K2, is linked to thousands of overdoses in the U.S. annually and dozens of deaths over the years.
It’s designed to mimic marijuana but can potentially be 100 times more potent.
The latest tragedy linked to synthetic marijuana unfolded in Brazoria County on Wednesday after midnight.
The teen’s body was found in the driveway of his friend’s home in a mobile home park in the 200 block of Stratton Ridge. He’s been identified by loved ones as Augustine Faragoza.
“It’s dangerous. My son would get high, and it wasn’t him. It was somebody else,” said mother Jessica Pierce.
Jesssica Pierce said her son first got hooked on synthetic pot about three years ago. At the time, it was still being sold in stores all over. Both she and her son would quickly come to find out how dangerous and addictive it was.
“This drug is worse than crack. It has chemicals that go straight to the brain,” Pierce said.
Pierce said her son has been trying to quit smoking and wonders if his final dose was given to him by a friend.
Faragoza hanging out with friends just hours before his death.
“He hit the synthetic marijuana. When he hit it…he started puking on himself,” explained Brazoswood High classmate Michael Morin. “We put him in the backseat. I got dropped off. I came inside my house and fell asleep.”
Friends said they had just driven down to Freeport and came back north to Clute as soon as Faragoza began having the adverse reaction.
“That was my homeboy. We were real close. He was like my brother,” said friend Juan Lara. “I tried smoking this stuff before. It’s not stuff. I was tripping out. I was like, I’m never doing this again.”
A neighbor reportedly discovered Faragoza’s lifeless body in his friend, Juan Lara’s driveway.
Lara claims he had been dropped off earlier in the night and was not with Faragoza when he overdosed.
“I didn’t believe everybody when they were telling me. I thought they were playing around. I looked out my blinds, and there was nothing but cops,” Lara said.
Faragoza’s family is now questioning why no one calls for help in his final moments of life.
Police are trying to find out who was with him when he overdose. Investigators are also looking into allegations that friends took a video of Faragoza either during the overdose or after he died.
“What they did to my son is wrong. My son shouldn’t have died like that,” his mom said.
Brazosport ISD officials said the community is heartbroken over what happened and that grief counselors will be available for as long as they are needed.
Faragoza’s mother said the school is planning a balloon release for Friday.
Her son would’ve turned 17 on Sunday.
The official cause of death in this case will be determined by the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office.