NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police on Wednesday confiscated as many as 2 million packets of K2 in the East Bronx.
The K2 bust on Poplar Street in the Bronx was part of an undercover operation, police sources told CBS2. It was an extension of a bust last week that resulted in a federal indictment against 10 manufacturers and distributors in a massive distribution ring in all five boroughs.
A law enforcement source said as many as 2 million packets of the drug, also known as synthetic marijuana, were seized. The NYPD said via Twitter that the packets were worth as much as $10 million.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security were also involved in the investigation, police said.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said last week the use of synthetic cannabinoids is causing deaths and sending thousands of people to emergency rooms around the country for treatment.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said last week that synthetic marijuana, also known as “K2” or “spice,” was flooding the streets, harming teenagers in public housing and the homeless in city shelters in particular.
Using or selling K2 isn’t a criminal offense in New York City, and selling or manufacturing the drug is only a health-code violation in New York state, punishable by a $250 fine.
Authorities, however, charged the defendants busted last week with breaking federal laws by importing illegal synthetic compounds containing controlled substances, mixing the chemicals and then selling the synthetic drugs to stores.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is working to introduce a bill that would make peddling K2 a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported last week.