The Texas Attorney General’s Office has teamed up with the Harris County Attorney’s Office to stop a Houston convenience store from distributing and selling products containing synthetic marijuana.
Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the suit Sept. 16 in Harris County against PN Super Texas Inc. and its owners, Phong Duc Nguyen, Hue Cong Huynh and Gam K. Ngo.
The plaintiffs contend the substance is dangerous and has been linked to overdoses, serious injuries and even deaths.
“The recent rise of hospitalizations and deaths due to this dangerous drug is both alarming and tragic,” said Paxton. “We must bring more awareness to this issue to ensure these products are kept out of the hands of our youth.”
According to a press release, the state has obtained a temporary restraining order against the defendants following several undercover investigations by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force, which uncovered and seized more than 1,600 packages of the substance at the store.
“All Texans need to understand the deadly consequences associated with this substance,” said Paxton. “Businesses that unlawfully sell and market this drug as a ‘safe alternative to marijuana’ are putting the health of our communities at risk just to make an extra buck, and it must be put to a stop.”
According to investigators, employees at PN Super Texas Inc. were selling the dangerous synthetic drugs in packages deceivingly labeled as incense or “potpourri.”
The packages were labeled with a list of misleading ingredients. When the packages seized by Harris County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force were sent to the lab, the results confirmed that the products contain AB-CHMINACA and XLR11, both highly addictive and dangerous chemicals listed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule 1 controlled substances – the most dangerous kind.
Synthetic Marijuana is considered a so-called “designer drug,” which is a substance that mimics the effects of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines.
It is often manufactured overseas and includes hallucinogenic chemicals that are highly addictive and dangerous to the user. There has been a recent uptick in reported overdoses in Texas, and, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, it is the second-most abused substance by high school seniors.
In the lawsuit, the Texas Attorney General’s Office alleges that PN Super Texas Inc., its parent company and its owners have violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as common nuisance statutes under Texas law.
Despite the dangers they pose, businesses selling these products are violating the law by clearly misleading consumers with claims that the products are legal and safe.