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Arrests Made in Chicago Synthetic Marijuana Case

Joliet drug lawyers

There is little question that the public’s attitude toward the use of marijuana has begun to shift substantially in recent years. Many states, including Illinois, now have a medical cannabis program, and several states have gone so far as to legalize recreational marijuana use. While the long-term effects of smoking marijuana may be similar to those associated with smoking tobacco, federal safety officials have yet to find a single recorded instance of a marijuana overdose death.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of “synthetic marijuana,” which has recently been linked to at least two deaths and many other cases of serious internal bleeding in the Chicago area. This week, federal drug enforcement officials say they traced the source of the product to a convenience store on Chicago’s west side and that three men have been arrested in connection with distributing the substance.

Undercover Operations

According to various news reports , members of the Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) went undercover in an attempt to buy synthetic marijuana products at a particular West Side Chicago mini-mart. The products were in sealed packages and sold under brand names, including “Blue Giant,” and “Matrix.” Law enforcement officers arrested two men who worked at the store and seized nearly two kilograms of products. Police found a third man at his home, where nearly three more kilos were seized, along with $280,000 in cash.

Testing of the product reportedly revealed the presence of a substance used in rat poison. The findings were consistent with fears expressed by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the wake of more than four dozen cases of severe bleeding in recent weeks. At least 56 people statewide were recently treated for symptoms of bleeding, including coughing blood, bloody urine, and bleeding gums after using synthetic marijuana. Of these, 17 were directly linked to such products in Chicago.

The men are facing federal charges for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Synthetic Marijuana

The term “synthetic marijuana” is somewhat misleading. It refers a human-made concoction of chemicals that can be sprayed or sprinkled on dried, shredded plant material—which results in a product that closely resembles actual cannabis. Synthetic marijuana is commonly known as “spice” or “K2.” The difference, however, is in the chemicals. While they are similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering substance in marijuana, the synthetic versions are up to 85 times more potent. Tainted products, obviously, are even more dangerous.

Get the Help You Need

The men in question were charged under federal drug distribution laws, but it is possible for those who sell or attempt to sell synthetic marijuana to face state-level charges in Illinois as well. If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Fentanyl Increasingly Found in Heroin

Joliet heroin lawyers

The use of opioid medication and synthetic opioid drugs has become more and more problematic throughout the last few years. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 11.5 million people misused opioids in 2016 alone. Over 64,000 people died of overdosing on these powerful drugs during the same year. Often, people become addicted to opioids after being prescribed pain management pills such as Vicodin or codeine. When these pills run out, some turn to heroin to get the pain-relieving fix they crave. Heroin is often combined with the much more powerful synthetic drug fentanyl in order to increase its effectiveness. Many drug users do not realize the fentanyl content in their heroin. Unfortunately, heroin and synthetic opioid overdose deaths are rising dramatically.

Toxicology Report for Prince Showed Exceptionally High Levels of Fentanyl

Legendary entertainer Prince died in April of 2016 at his Minnesota home. Representatives for the singer had been working to get addiction help for the 57 year-old, but it seems that the help came too late. Overdose was always assumed to be the cause of Prince’s death, but we now have much more information about what specifically killed him. The most recent information comes from a toxicology report which was conducted as part of an autopsy. The report shows that Prince had exceedingly high levels of fentanyl in his body when he died. It has been concluded that this is what killed him.

Legislators Cracking Down on Drug Traffickers

Fentanyl is a pain-relieving medication 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is also 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a tiny amount of fentanyl, only two milligrams, is enough to kill a person. The drug is manufactured and given to cancer patients legally, but is also manufactured and distributed illegally on the black market. Use of fentanyl has increased so much that some legislators have significantly increased the punishment for peddling fentanyl and fentanyl-laced products.

President Donald Trump has received criticism for his recent declarations that drug traffickers should get the death penalty. However, there already exists a federal law which allows federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for high-volume drug traffickers. No cases have been tried under this law and many doubt that a death sentence in such a case would withstand legal and constitutional challenges.

In Illinois, possession of heroin is a Class 1 Felony. It is punishable by up to $200,000 in fines and up to 50 years’ imprisonment depending on the amount in possession. Possession and intent to sell fentanyl are classified as Class X felonies in Illinois. Those found guilty face up to $500,000 in fines and up to sixty years’ imprisonment. Addition charges may also be added in situations where a person sells drugs to someone who overdoses when using. The State's Attorney's office has the discretion to charge drug dealers with drug-induced homicide related to overdose deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin.

Contact Our Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of a drug-related crime can dramatically alter a person’s life. If you have been charged with possessing, manufacturing, or distributing illegal drugs, you need an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney who will fight to keep you out of jail. To speak with a representative from the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., call (815) 740-4025 today.

What Happens if You Refuse a DUI Breathalyzer Test?

Joliet dui lawyers

Even if you have never participated in one, most people are familiar with breathalyzer tests. When a person is stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), officers will ask him or her to blow into a portable breath device which measures the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. This information can be used to calculate the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. If the driver is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, he or she will be charged with a DUI. But what happens if a person refuses to blow into a portable breathalyzer prior to the arrest and or refuses to take the breathalyzer at the police station, after the arrest?

Refusing the Portable Breath Test

You are allowed to refuse the portable breath test given by police prior to an arrest. The law in Illinois, however, is designed in such a way that it encourages people NOT to refuse breathalyzers or other chemical BAC tests. If you refuse the portable breath test during the officer’s investigation of DUI, there is a high probability that the officer will arrest and charge you with a DUI. If you have had several drinks though, it is generally a good idea to refuse the portable breath test as you might be over the legal limit. In addition, portable breath tests are historically unreliable, and you might get a false reading from the machine, thereby sealing your arrest anyway by the officer.

Illinois Implied Consent Law

If you are arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you will be asked to take a chemical test at the police station to determine the amount of alcohol you have consumed. This test is most frequently a breath test, but blood and urine tests are also used to determine BAC. The implied consent law means that a motorist consents to being tested for BAC after an arrest the moment they got a driver’s license and drove on public roads. Unlike other police encounters, people who are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence and ultimately arrested, do not have the right to have an attorney present before being tested by police. The officer administering a blood alcohol content test will choose the type of test he or she offers, but you have the right to request further testing in order to prove your innocence.

License Suspension

If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station after you have been arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended for one year for a first-time offender. On the other hand, if submit to and you fail the breathalyzer test at the station, meaning the resulting BAC is .08 percent or above, your license will only be suspended for 6 months for a first-time offender. The only way to stop your license suspension is to file and win a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension in court. Your attorney should file this petition right away.

The benefit of refusing the breathalyzer test at the station is that the prosecution will have a more difficult time proving DUI charges in court. It is important to note that refusing a BAC test does not mean that you won’t be found guilty of a DUI, however, a refusal takes away an important piece of evidence that the state would use against you at trial.

Facing DUI Charges?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence or have refused to take a chemical blood alcohol content test, you need an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney who knows Illinois DUI laws and can fight to protect your freedom and license. To speak with a representative from Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, call 815-740-4025.


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