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3 Arrested After 25 People Are Sickened By K2 Overdoses In Brooklyn, Police Say

May 20, 2018 - 11:03 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Police said a total of 25 people were sickened this weekend from overdoses of K2 in Brooklyn.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the overdoses.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, authorities with warrants searched the Big Boy Deli in Brooklyn as they looked for answers into how the people were sickened by the K2 – also known as Spice or synthetic marijuana – and where the K2 came from.

 “Apparently, there was a package, probably from the same batch, of K2 sold to a group of individuals – I don’t know whether it was together, or whether they just made those purchases and were in that area smoking – and were sickened by that particular batch,” City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-36th) told WCBS 880.

Those living in the area described the scene to the New York Daily News as “watching the walking dead.”

Three people were arrested inside the deli early Sunday, police said. They were identified as Raddwan Alsaidi, 24; Marcial Bortez, 26; and Ashras Rayshani, 22.

All three were charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes and failure to report sales tax, police said. Bortez was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

All 25 people were rushed to the hospital around 6 p.m. Saturday, and all are expected to survive, police said.In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new law that allows the city to shut down businesses where the owners are selling K2.

“K2 is a poison,” de Blasio said. “It is a poison that threatens public safety and public health, and it’s taken a toll on too many New Yorkers in too many communities already. It’s something we haven’t seen the likes of in the past.”

Cornegy added that a business found to be selling K2 also loses its license to sell cigarettes. He added that K2 is dangerous in a way that actual marijuana is not.

“It’s funny, because it’s juxtaposed to a time when we’re talking about the legalization of marijuana, which, you know, by the way, has obviously statistically proven to have medicinal values, which K2 has none. Synthetic marijuana has none,” he said. “It’s just sold for the purpose of getting high, and its adverse effects are far more dangerous than its intended use.”

Cornegy said a system where marijuana was legalized and regulated would be preferable to the situation with K2.

“It’s a big debate, but clearly, there’s a glaring difference between the use of marijuana in its current form; in its current state, and the use of K2 – the ability to regulate and to be able to oversee the sale and usage of marijuana, under the current circumstances in what we’re seeing with the synthetic drugs, would be a direction that I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to,” he said.

Cornegy added that a heightened enforcement of the laws against K2 is mandated.

Cornegy said the fight to stop the sale of substances such as K2 in local stores will continue.

“I think there that, you know, there is, as they change their methodology, we’re tasked with changing ours as well, from a community perspective and from a law enforcement perspective,” he said. “So we’re not giving up on the idea that illegal and banned substances won’t be sold in our communities. We’re actually digging our heels in deeper than those individuals who seek to profit off of the demise of other folks.”

The Big Boy Deli and the next-door smoke shop, at Broadway and Myrtle Avenue on the cusp of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, were both shut down in 2016 after a similar incident – where 33 people were hospitalized from overdoses of the drug.