High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
Sold under the name "Molly," a popular designer drug has become a top priority for Tampa Bay area law enforcement.
In the past few months, local narcotics detectives have seen big bulk shipments of the drug coming here from China. The most recent batch was intercepted on Thursday.
"It's not a party drug. It's a drug -- a dangerous drug," said Capt. Charlie Thorpe with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office dealt with this drug just last month. Three men were arrested after a Chinese shipment was seized that would have equaled approximately 5,000 doses.
"We're always fearful of that one bad batch that's going to come through," Thorpe said.
Pinellas County law enforcement has noticed the problem, too. Oftentimes the drugs are ordered online.
Michael Schmidt, 22, is facing federal drug charges for receiving 24 pounds of "Molly" from China, according to a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.
However, the most recent case happened on Thursday. Jamal Robinson, 20, was arrested at his Bradenton home on a charge of possession with the intent to sell after federal authorities said they intercepted a shipment of drugs from China addressed to his house at 3005 38th Terrace E.
"It's crazy. It's absolutely crazy when you think about it. You have no idea what you're taking," said Alfred Aleguas, the director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.
Experts, like Aleguas, said the compounds could be potentially lethal since you never know the exact concentration or strength. He's also noticed a rise in the drugs coming in from foreign labs.
"The most important thing is to talk to your kids and make them realize how dangerous these compounds are," Aleguas said.
"We have to educate the public as best we can -- this is a dangerous thing," Thorpe said.
If you or someone you know has been potentially exposed to this drug and could be at risk, you're urged to call the poison help hotline at 1-800-222-1222.