Fake pot missing in Brewton area

Published 5:59 pm Monday, November 14, 2011

Even as a Pensacola, Fla., teen recovers from an evening of smoking fake pot, Brewton and city and county law enforcement officials continue to be vigilant in keeping it from the hands of teens in this area.

In a report with the Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department, 20-year-old Cody Gibson was arrested after he admitted providing synthetic marijuana to a 16-year-old friend. In the report, Gibson was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and cruelty toward a child.

The 16-year-old was reportedly taken to a Pensacola emergency room for treatment after he stopped breathing after smoking the substance.

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The Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff’s department responded to a 911 call of a drug overdose at Gibson’s home. As officers responded, information was received that a group of juveniles had just smoked spice, a synthetic herbal and chemical substance that mimics the effects of marijuana at the home.

When deputies arrived, Gibson was found standing over the teen suffering from effects of the substance. The victim was lying on the bathroom floor, according to Gibson’s arrest report. Gibson told deputies he had attempted to revive the victim although he remained incoherent.

Spice, also known by many other names, is a legal substance in Florida, but other states, including Alabama, have outlawed it.

Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said no reports of the synthetic marijuana have been made over the last two weeks after the substance was removed from shelves throughout the area.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a moratorium on the substances that forced retailers to remove the packages from their shelves. The Oct. 24 deadline came and went, and McGougin said local retailers were forced to comply.

“When the governor issued that order, officials with the Alabama Beverage Control Board came in and removed the substance from the stores,” McGougin said. “There were three retailers in Brewton and one in East Brewton that were selling the items but all of it was taken by the ABC folks.”

McGougin said his department will keep an eye on those and other locations to make sure no retailer restocks the substance.

“If we find it now we will arrest anybody trying to sell it,” McGougin said. “To have that available for sale would bring a felony charge against the seller.”

In the county, officials with the Escambia County Sheriffs Department are continuing to keep an eye on activity across the area as well.

Sheriff Grover Smith said several businesses throughout the county had been selling the substances, but those items have now disappeared.

“We haven’t had any complaints since the moratorium was imposed,” Smith said. “There were quite a few places in the county that were selling the substance, but we haven’t seen any in the places we’ve been checking.”

Smith said he has instructed officers to be alert when on patrol throughout the county.

“We are certainly keeping an eye on this,” Smith said. “The cities are taking care of keeping an eye on their retail locations and we are watching what goes on in the county. This is a time when we are all working together to keep this substance out of our communities.”

Anyone suspecting a retailer of having the substances available should contact local law enforcement officials.