Peoria-area man charged with drug-induced homicide in tainted synthetic pot outbreak

A packet of K2 synthetic cannabis product shown on May 21, 2012. (Brett Phibbs / AP) An Illinois man has been charged with drug-induced homicide in a death linked to tainted synthetic marijuana — the latest arrest in an outbreak that has killed three people and sickened scores of people in the state.

Prosecutors in Tazewell County said they found 15 pounds of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, in the suspect’s apartment in the Peoria area, where the majority of Illinois cases have occurred.

Prosecutors said they expect the arrest of Lonnie K. Smith, of Pekin, to put a dent in the supply of synthetic pot that has been blamed for poisoning 126 people and killing three since March 7, according to the latest numbers released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In some cases, rat poison was discovered in the substance, which authorities said has turned up both on the street and in shops, though it’s been illegal in the state for several years.

More than 70 of those cases have turned up in the Peoria area in Tazewell and Peoria counties, and about 40 have been reported the Chicago area, nearly all in Cook County.

Victims reported […]

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