SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Shelby County sheriff’s deputies say they’ve taken a major drug dealer off the streets, whose target customers are children.
Lt. Clay Hammac, commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, said Derrick Reed, 29, had more than $31,000 worth of synthetic marijuana when officers arrested him.
According to Hammac, Reed was a repeat offender and out on bond for another crime when he was arrested Friday, in the middle of drug deal.
Reed is charged with Unlawful Possession of Marijuana 1st Degree, Trafficking a Synthetic-Controlled Substance, Distribution of a Controlled Substance and Possession of an Illegal Firearm.
He is being held in the Shelby County Jail. His bond has been revoked.
Investigators believe Reed was selling the synthetic marijuana to high school students across Shelby County.
Hammac said Reed’s supply could be linked to Calera High School, Montevallo High School, Alabaster High School, Pelham High School and Helena High School.
“Not only were we able to get drugs off the street,” Hammac said. “We feel like we were able to free this community from a situation where we have been told firsthand, that for a long time, they have felt as though they were held hostage, by not just Mr. Reed, but the traffic that comes and goes within the community.”
Hammac said synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice, has gained traction in high schools, because students believe that it will give them the same high as marijuana, and go undetected during a drug screening.
While the latter may be true, Hammac said, it’s because what’s in spice isn’t necessarily a drug.
“Some of those chemicals are nothing more than what you’d find in a can of bug spray,” Hammac said.
Therefore, side effects could be what one might expect from ingesting those toxic chemicals.
“We’ve seen effects ranging everywhere from cardiac arrest, to suppressed respiratory breathing, even coma, seizures and sometimes death,” Hammac said.
Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says synthetic marijuana is actually synthetic cannabinoids, and says “their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even life-threatening.”