MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 5, 2013

Three held in synthetic marijuana case

Suspects were arrested after traffic stop in van with children

Three people were arrested after an investigator found what he believed to be synthetic marijuana and paraphernalia in a vehicle with small children.

Terry Pettey, 23, Christian Hernandez, 23, and Ervin Hernandez, 25, were arrested by the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office about 4 p.m. Thursday in Warner when a sheriff’s investigator noticed a small, unrestrained child standing up inside a moving sport utility vehicle.

“I made contact on the driver’s side with (Pettey) and upon approach, in plain view, I noticed a metal pipe with residue in it,” said Investigator Ryan Lowe. “I also noticed some rolling papers and a couple of bags of K2, or synthetic marijuana.”

Lowe said during the search of the vehicle, deputies located a 3-week-old baby in the back of the vehicle. The 4-year-old girl stood up during the search, and deputies discovered she’d been sitting on another pipe Lowe said contained residue.

Pettey was arrested on complaints of:

• Two counts of child endangerment; and

• Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Christian Hernandez was arrested on complaints of:

• Public intoxication;

• Possession of drug paraphernalia; and

• Two counts of child endangerment.

Ervin Hernandez was arrested on complaints of:

• Public intoxication; and

• Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Pettey and Christian Hernandez are held at the Muskogee County/City Detention Center on $10,000 bond. Ervin Hernandez is being held on $5,000 bond.

The two children were taken by the Department of Human Services and placed with other family members, Lowe said.

Lowe said the synthetic marijuana taken from the vehicle was sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to be tested to see if it contained illegal chemical compounds. If those tests come back positive, all three could face additional charges.

“There’s something like 250 illegal compounds of this synthetic material,” Lowe said. “In the last six months to a year, we’re seeing a lot of this stuff. I think it’s due to a lack of knowledge, where kids think it’s legal to buy and smoke, and it is not.”

Lowe said the synthetic marijuana is marketed as incense, but some people experiment by smoking it. Varieties containing the illegal compounds produce a high and can be dangerous, Lowe said.

“And the makers of the stuff are always trying to stay ahead of the laws,” Lowe said. “Once a compound is identified as illegal, they come up with a new version. There’s a big push in legislation to try and find a way to stay in front of the drug makers.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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