Six accused of dealing thousands of bags of K2 in Austin

Clockwise from top left - Mothanna Yousef, Salah El-Hennawi, Sidney Franklin, Jr., Juanita Price, Obdule Ware, and Charles Herd (Austin Police Department Photos)
Clockwise from top left - Mothanna Yousef, Salah El-Hennawi, Sidney Franklin, Jr., Juanita Price, Obdule Ware, and Charles Herd (Austin Police Department Photos)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Separate investigations led to the arrest of six people on charges of possession with intent to distribute K2 in Austin last week.

The Austin Police Department Organized Crime Division Narcotics Team, along with other state agencies, rounded up the six facing federal indictments on Thursday, Aug. 3.

The investigations focused on those responsible for making thousands of bags of K2 in Houston and distributing it in Austin. Police say the investigations began during the rash of K2 overdose cases in the downtown area.

Charles Kevin Herd, 56, Juanita Deshawn Price, 42, and Sidney Henry Franklin, Jr., 59, are charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids/money laundering.

Salah Said Omar El-Hennawai, 44, Obdule Ware, 43, and Mothanna Abdullah Yousef face the same indictment with the exception of the money laundering charge. Al-Hennawai and Yousef are from Houston and the remaining four are from Austin.

In May, Austin police issued a slew of warrants for suspects accused of distributing K2 in downtown. The Police Department confiscated hundreds of doses of K2 from around the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH).

K2, also known as spice, is a mixture of herbs and spices that are typically sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Agency says.

In a press conference in March, Austin police said K2 overdoses had become a “total drain on our downtown police resources,” as well as for the fire department and EMS.

“I think we’ve done our community a disservice by calling this drug a synthetic marijuana,” Austin Police Commander Troy Officer said. “This is no more marijuana than if I put bleach in a martini glass and called it a cocktail. This does not have the effects of marijuana. This is a public safety and public health issue and unless we attack it as such we’re doing our community a disservice.”

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