NEWTON, NJ – Local authorities from the Newton Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, and officers working undercover from the above agencies and other police departments within the county (comprising the Sussex County Gangs, Guns, and Narcotics Task Force), made a bust on Wednesday, January 9, of two locations within the county selling “K2” (also known as “Spice”), and accompanying drug paraphernalia.
“K2” is a synthetic marijuana product, classified as a “psychoactive designer drug,” meaning it is chemically modified to mimic the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
The locations selling “K2” were U-Save Quick Mart on Sparta Avenue in Newton, and the Getty Quick Mart, on Route 206 in Andover Borough.
The arrests of five individuals involved and charged was the result of a two-month investigation between the Newton Police Department, and the detectives from the Sussex County Gangs, Guns, and Narcotics Task Force.
“There was a lot of intelligence gathered,” said Newton Police Department Lieutenant Robert Osborn, a spokesperson for the department. “We believed those involved were selling ‘K2.’ It was a cooperative investigation for a long time.”
Newton Police Department Detectives Thomas Muller, and Joseph D’Annibale worked with the undercover officers.
“It [the operation] involved some purchases from the task force,” said Osborn.
A press release from the Newton Police Department described the purchases.
“Throughout the investigation, purchases of various amounts were made of synthetic marijuana and paraphernalia," was on the statement issued by the department.
Osborn said the drug paraphernalia was in plain view in both locations, while the “K2,” was kept concealed within the stores.
Law enforcement seized more than 2,500 pieces of drug paraphernalia from both locations (approximately 1,200 pieces from each store), 44 bags of “K2” for individual sale, and $3,000 cash.
Both "K2" busts happened simultaneously, said Osborn, after the coordinating agencies executed search warrants of the two locations.
“It’s [‘K2’] a product that is illegal, and they [those distributing it at the U-Save Quick Mart, and Getty Quick Mart] know it’s illegal,” added Osborn.
According to a Newton Police Department press release, those arrested and charged were:
- Ismail Alptekin, age 35, of Lafayette Township, the owner of the U-Save Quick Mart, and co-owner of the Getty Quick Mart, was charged with two counts of Possession with the Intent to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana (a third-degree crime), and two counts of Possession to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime).
- Sener Alptekin, age 30, also of Lafayette, and co-owner of the Getty Quick Mart, was charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana (a third-degree crime), and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime).
- Employee Baris Makinaci, age 27, of Andover Borough, was charged with; Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime), Possession with the Intent to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana (a third-degree crime), Possession with the Intent to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime).
- Employee Mustafa Deniz, age 35, of Palisades Park, N.J., was charged with Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime), Possession with the Intent to Distribute Synthetic Marijuana (a third-degree crime), and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia (a fourth-degree crime).
- Employee Ahmet Ilhan, age 47, of Newton, was charged with Distribution of Drug Parphernalia (a fourth-degree crime).
All of the above were released after receiving complaints summonses. The parties are scheduled for their first court appearances in the Town of Newton Municipal Court on Tuesday, January 15, and the Joint Municipal Court (for Green, Fredon, and Hampton Townships, and Andover Borough), on Friday, February 8.
Third and fourth-degree crimes are both indictable crimes in the State of New Jersey. Third-degree crimes can carry penalties up to three to five years in prison, and fourth-degree crimes, up to 18 months in prison.
When asked if the parties from the U-Save Quick Mart, and the Getty Quick Mart, sold “K2” to minors, Osborn responded, “If we can substantiate it was sold to minors, we can charge for that.”
When asked if these stores could possibly attempt to sell these items again, Osborn said, “The best deterrent is they will be held accountable in court, and, it’s an illegal activity.”
“We won’t turn a blind eye,” Osborn concluded.
According to a June 2012 article in Forbes, “K2,” or “Spice” (also known as “Black Mamba,” “Zohai,” “Fake Weed,” “Bombay Blue,” “Genie,” “Yucatan Fire,” “Skunk,” “Moon Rocks,” “Bliss,” “Blaze,” “K3,” “Incense,” “Red X Dawn,” and “Nice”), has chemical compounds not safe for humans, including JWH-018 (a fertilizer), JWH-073 (a “chemical concern” with the Drug Enforcement Administration), and HU-210 (said to be 100 to 800 times more concentrated than THC).
“Spice” can cause hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, anxiety, coughing, nausea, vomiting, inattention, heart palpitations, seizures, tremors, violent tendencies, and even death.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs lists on its website, “designer drugs,” such as “K2,” and also “Bath Salts” (packages of multicolored crystal salts in different colors, replicating the properties of amphetamines, and cocaine), as street drugs with questionable purity, made under conditions to avoid federal regulation, containing unknown chemicals, and responsible for serious health side effects.
Also according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, "K2," which has been in existence since 2006, marketed as “herbs,” and sold by tobacconists, and gas stations, stays in a person’s system longer than THC, which in turn, creates a higher risk of organ damage and overdose.
“K2”, “Bath Salts,” and other “designer drugs,” contain components classified as Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances.
The United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, defines Schedule I Controlled Substances as having “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”
In New Jersey, “K2” became a drug placed as a Schedule I Drug, under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, this past October, meaning it is banned for sale and distribution in the State of New Jersey, because of the risks to the public, and to the health of those who take it.
Editor's Note: Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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