Sheriff David Allison press release on Nov 12 vape investigation arrests
The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Picayune Police Department conducted a joint operation on Friday, November 12th that resulted in the execution of several search warrants associated with an investigation into the sale of vape products containing synthetic cannabinoids.
Synthethic Cannabinoids, commonly referred to as ‘spice’ or ‘K2’, are classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and their sale and possession has been illegal in the state of Mississippi since 2015. Throughout the investigation, investigators learned that the synthethic cannabinoids were being sold to unsuspecting purchasers as CBD products, but results from the Mississippi Forensic Laboratory on the products showed that they did in fact contain Synthethic Cannbinoids.
The vape products were begin sold throughout various stores within Pearl River County.
Sheriff David Allison said in the press release that the investigation began when investigators were made awared of overdoses related to people who had consumed what they believed to be CBD in vaporized form. Investigators traced the source of the CBD to several stores in the county. Investigators completed undercover purchases of the products from various stores, and they submitted to the the Mississippi Forensic Laboratory for chemical analysis. That analysis from the MFL showed the vape additived being sold contained synthetic cannabinoids such as ADB-BUTINACA and MDMB-4en-PINACA.
The press release states that synthetic cannabinoids can induce various harmful effects to users, some of which induce rapid heart rates, respiratory distress, kidney failure, seizures, and hallucinations. Some of these side effects and effects of overdosing on the substances can lead to death. Prior to the federal government and state of Mississippi banning synthetic cannabinoids, emergency rooms around Mississippi suffered frequent influxes of patients with various medical ailments caused from the side effects of consuming synthetic cannabinoids.
During this investigation, Sheriff Allison stated that investigators learned of juvenile subjects that were thrown into respiratory distress from consuming a vaporized product, which the children believed to be CBD.
With the information already known to the investigators, the decision was made to execute search warrants in an effort to protect members of the public, and prevent any other overdoses if possible. Investigators conducted search warrants seizing various amounts of additional vape additives believed to contain synthetic cannabinoids from around the country to include the City of Picayune and the City of Poplarville. During the searches, other illegal items such as synthetic urine were seized from some of the locations. Legislation prohibiting the sale and possession of synthetic urine was passed into law in the past year’s legislative session, and the laws took effect in July, 2021.
Sheriff’s Allison press release said investigators from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, and detectives from the Picayune Police Department executed search warrants at the following locations in relation to this investigation:
· Smoker’s Palace #1, 943 South Main Street, Poplarville, MS
· Smoker’s Palace # 2, 3649 Hwy 26 West, Poplarville,MS
· Valero Gas station, 1009 Memorial Drive, Picayune, MS
· The residence of Falah Fadel, 1315 Alpine Road, Picayune, MS
· The residence of Savannah Haas, 212 Upstart Street, Poplaville,MS
· Smoke EZ, 1125 Highway 43 North Suite A, Picayune,MS
· True Value Tobacco, 1701 Highway 43 North Suite 4, Picayune,MS
· Jackson Landing Road Food Mart, 1000 South Beech Street, Picayune, MS
Sheriff Allison and the the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Picayune Police Department would like to thank the Mississippi Forensic Laboratory for the speed in which they were able to provide investigators with the results of their analysis on the suspected products, allowing investigators to know exactly what was contained in the products. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics was also an integral part of this investigation. The investigators in this case were also grateful for the assistance from the Poplarville Police Department in the execution of the search warrants within their jurisdiction.
Those arrested as part of the initial phase of this investigation include:
· Falah Fadel --- Trafficking a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy
· Savannah Haas ---Trafficking a Controlled Substance, Sale of a Controlled Substance
· Muhammed Nafal and Emam Nafal ---Possession of a Controlled Substance
· Sami Naji and Fuad Fadel --- Possession of Paraphernalia
· Aseel Naji --- Marketing of synthetic urine
Sheriff Allison stated this is an ongoing investigation, and more arrests are anticipated to be made as the investigation unfolds. He also provided the following statement:
“We are pro-business and we support business, but we are not going to tolerate business people coming into our county or cities, and selling this illegal narcotic that is harmful to our citizens, and especially to our children.”