AUSTIN (KXAN) — The owner of The Smoke Shop is facing drug charges after police said they found K2, heroin and bath salts inside the store.
More than 20 people were treated earlier this week after using K2, and police said their investigation led the to the Southeast Austin shop. Police combed the business on Wednesday and arrested 48-year-old Keith Nunley on charges of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Police also found a gun, which Nunley was not allowed to have due to a prior conviction.
Investigators say the K2 seized from the shop has been connected to the latest overdoses, but they are working to determine whether a certain strain was causing the problems. It is also possible, police say, that the K2 was contaminated after being opened, but officers have not been able to confirm that.
KXAN talked to someone who lives down the street who says,”When we passed by there to buy some groceries we saw the cops there raiding the place and I applauded them. There’s a lot of children that walk home and have to go by there and I don’t think it’s appropriate to have it around children.”
Officers were first contacted Monday when several people were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge after they overdosed on K2. An officer went to the hospital and found many of the people were in a catatonic state and unable to communicate, an arrest affidavit said. One person was able to tell police he bought a blunt from a man named Charles.
Authorities then pulled up their cameras in near the ARCH and started combing through the video to find the suspects handing out the drugs.
“So we backed up the footage to see what activity was going on prior to the EMS calls coming in and we were able to narrow it down to those two individuals,” said Cmdr. Chris McIlvein. “They are known individuals in Austin.”
Charles Hubbard, 50, and 37-year-old Amy Goldman were both arrested Tuesday. During a search, police said Hubbard was carrying a packet of synthetic cannabinoids along with wrapped cigarettes containing the same substance, the affidavit said. Officers said he admitted to selling the blunts for $5.
Hubbard was charged with possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a second degree felony. Bond was set at $75,000.
Investigators don’t believe this is where the K2 was coming from that made people so sick a few months ago.