The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

March 27, 2013

Couple arrested in synthetic marijuana raid downtown

NORMAN — Formal charges are pending against a Norman husband and wife who worked at Ancient Aromatherapy, 230 W. Gray St., after police say they found synthetic marijuana among the store’s merchandise.

Commonly known as “K2” or “Spice,” the substance was sold as herbal incense or potpourri, and Norman police seized 190 packages from Aromatherapy on March 8 after an undercover investigation.

An alleged overdose by a high school student prompted a second search warrant Thursday, resulting in the arrest of 36-year-old Christie Leigh England and 41-year-old Dennis Kirby England.

The Englands face pending charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute within 2,000 feet of a school/park and unlawful delivery of a controlled synthetic substance within 2,000 feet of a school/park.

Police said the substances have a similar effect to marijuana when smoked and although they are sold as herbal incense or potpourri, undercover officers paid $10 per gram for the products.

Investigators indicate that the synthetic substances can be from 10 to 800 times stronger than naturally occurring THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Detectives first obtained information from a patrol officer, who encountered three people in possession of the substance. The individuals admitted they had bought it from Aromatherapy with the intent to get high.

After the alleged overdose of a high school student, investigators learned the business was continuing to sell the substances and applied for a second search warrant at the business. During the second search, they found numerous packages of products similar to those seized on March 8.

Examples of seized items included Scooby Snax and Zero Gravity, which are marketed as potpourri.

“They (police) are looking for stuff like this, especially now. They have a heightened awareness of this,” said Capt. Tom Easley, Norman police spokesperson.

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