16 people have been arrested in Wichita Falls have been arrested in 2014 for the highly addictive drug K2. Newschannel 6 uncovered just why this drug is so hard to get out of stores and out of our community for this Only On 6 special report.
"I want the community to understand the magnitude of the K2 problem in our small community," said District Attorney for Wichita County, Maureen Shelton.
Shelton said this in August of 2014 when the sell of K2 in Wichita Falls came to a head. Six stores from Martin Luther King Blvd, to Scott Street and to 32nd Street were raided. Nine people were arrested.
"They'll just put it behind the counter and it won't be behind the shelves. That's why we had to be more aggressive in what we did to get this drug off of the streets," said Police Chief for the Wichita Falls Police Department, Manuel Borrego.
The sell and manufacture of K2 has been outlawed in the state of Texas since 2011. Because this is law, how were places right here in Wichita County able to sell it?
"What was happening was the chemistry of the synthetic that they were using, they would change the molecular structure of it and that would then make it legal again. We kept chasing after that molecule and it just became a problem," said Chief Borrego.
Marcy Thomas of the Helen Farabee Centers in Wichita Falls told Newschannel 6 this.
"I think it's extremely difficult, number one. When anyone is making a profit they will try to continue to sell some item in a different form if it's legally possible," said Thomas.
Thomas has dealt with number of residents at H.F.C. who have had a K2 addiction.
"We treat that much like any other addiction; we explain the dangers of smoking K2. The impact of K2, the high, can be 10 times more intense than marijuana. It can be more physically and psychologically addicting," said Thomas.
"We had a guy here who that was robbing stores because he needed to get K2. It's a very dangerous drug and it's uncontrolled," said Chief Borrego.
Since the raids over the summer, Borrego sent a letter to the nine stores that were raided.
"As a final nail to shut this down, I sent a letter to all of these businesses that we knew were selling this and telling them that if they continue to sell that, that there would be more legal consequences," said Borrego.
This letter from the Chief also states the damaging effects of the addictive drug like the psychoactive alterations to a person's mood or cognition, the loss of consciousness, seizures and respiratory difficulties.
"The ingredients are synthetic. For example, the chemical is very strong and it is normally packaged after it has been sprayed on potpourri, bath salts, sometimes it packaged to where it looks similar to candy. It's very attractively presented. It's highly addicting," said Thomas.
"It's hard for us to find it illegal. We've got to do what we can to get this drug off of the streets," said Chief Borrego.
Chief Borrego also told Newschannel 6 that the raids are a part of an ongoing investigation. Undercover officers will be spot checking these stores from time to time to see if they are still selling this illegal substance.
K2 is also known as "spice" and is sold under variety of different names.