PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) - Authorities think they've found the drug that hospitalized several New Mexico high schoolers and maybe the place that sold it to them.
Roosevelt County sheriff's deputies seized hundreds of packets of herbal potpourri, often referred to as spice, from local smoke shops after another alarming incident with a young person there.
"We seized a lot of packages of different synthetic materials that we believe to be for smoking that we've taken off our area youth," said Chief Deputy Malin Parker.
Parker said more than 200 packages of incense were seized Wednesday from the shops 2 Guyz With Pipez and Smokin' Dreamz.
Sheriff's deputies told KRQE News 13 seven teenagers have been hospitalized in the last month because of the drug spice.
"People were getting high. We were finding them passed out in convenience stores and intersections," said Parker. "We were getting reports of young people just kind of freaking out."
Parker says the latest spice episode was Saturday when three teenage girls got their hands on packages like Mamba and Frost.
"They had literally destroyed the inside of their house while they were high on this stuff," said Parker. "Knocked holes in the wall, tore everything off the walls, flipped over furniture all kinds of stuff."
Deputies say you have to be at least 18 to purchase anything from a smoke shop, but even that doesn't stop teens from getting it anyway.
"They just got to know someone that'll get it for them," said Parker.
He says that's a big reason why he and his team are having a difficult time keeping the community clear of the spice substances.
"We can stop something and/or slow it down until they figure out another way of doing it." said Parker.
Deputies say samples of the suspected spice are being sent to the New Mexico State Crime Lab for testing to see if they contain chemicals that are banned.
Officials say they are consulting with the district attorney's office and charges could be filed within the next week.
Deputies were led on a chase around 4 p.m. Monday after a person called 911 to report their vehicle had been stolen and was being driven recklessly around Albuquerque.
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