Police arrested eight alleged street drug dealers and are looking for a ninth in the wake of an unusually high number of overdoses connected to the synthetic cannaboid known as “Spice,” “fake weed,” or “K2.”
Since the spike in K2-related overdoses began on Jan. 25, the department’s criminal intelligence unit, shooting task force, and drug unit began an investigation in conjunction with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven office to “capture those responsible for the distribution and sale of the poisonous drug,” according to a release issued by police spokesman Officer David Hartman.
The police arrested the alleged dealers around the New Haven Green and the APT Foundation methadone clinic on Congress Avenue, two loci of the local opioid and general illegal-drug trade. (Click here for a story about the situation outside APT, here for a story about emergency workers tackling the daily overdoses, here for a story about decline in the Ninth Square area where opioid dealers and users tend to congregate, and here for a story about the latest findings of Yale researchers examining the problem.)
The arrestees range in age from 28 to 56 years old and hail from New Haven, West Haven, and Waterbury. They were charged with possession and/or sale of a controlled substance.
One arrest took place after Sgt. Roy Davis saw a suspect “snatch twenty bucks from someone’s hand and take off running. He chased after [the suspect] from Academy Street, across Wooster Square, then to Hughes Place, St. John Street and then to Lenzi Park, where he made the tackle,” Hartman reported. He said the suspect later told cops he “had stolen the money to buy K2.”
Other cops involved included Lt. Karl Jacobson, Sgt. Jose Miranda, Detective Elizabeth White, Detective Thomas Glynn, Detective Mark Decarvalho, Detective Francisco Sanchez, Detective Martin Potsiad, and Officers Joshua Castellano, David Santiago, Daniel Stevens, Jeffrey Rivellini, Erdick Agosto.
“This was all hands on deck,” Jacobson, the operation’s supervisor, was quoted as saying.
The federal government classifies synthetic drugs like K2 “new psychoactive substances (NPS),” Hartman noted, “unregulated mind-altering substances that have become newly available on the market and are intended to produce the same effects as other illegal drugs.”