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Child endangerment & distribution charges pending - KOAM TV 7

Child endangerment & distribution charges pending after synthetic marijuana hospitalizes 3 teens

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The Neosho Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff's Office work together to get a substance mimicking marijuana off the shelves of convenience stores that hospitalized three Neosho teens.

Emergency personnel responded to a medical call early Thursday evening to three teenagers who were unconscious and convulsing.  The names and condition of the teens have not yet been released.

Law enforcement then issued a search warrant at the Main Street Convenience Store after receiving word the hospitalized teens obtained the synthetic marijuana from that location.

More than $71,000 in synthetic marijuana was confiscated at the store.

We're told the step-father of one of the teenagers bought the synthetic marijuana for them.  He faces possible charges of endangering the welfare of a child and distribution, as does the store owner.

Synthetic marijuana looks just like marijuana but smoking or consuming can lead to severe side effects and the danger is not knowing what chemicals the substance contains.

"It says 'not for human consumption' but we have had in the past different clerks that would tell you 'yes, this is how you do it,'" says Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland.  "They need to get the message that we are going to prosecute them and put them in jail for this.  You can't make this available to our kids."

All stores in the area that sold the product received a letter from the prosecuting attorney in May, asking the owners to remove the synthetic marijuana products from their shelves.

Neosho Police Chief David McCracken says most store owners complied, but others let money override the welfare of teens.  He says Neosho law enforcement is doing what it can to change the laws.

"It's difficult due to the fact the manufactures change their products once the legislator act with the new law," says Chief McCracken.  "My opinion the best route to go is education with people that put that stuff in their body, not knowing what it is, and secondly for our store owners to be good citizens of the community and not sell the stuff."

Sheriff Copeland and Chief McCracken says they do not know what this product is capable of but what they do know is they will not quit until synthetic marijuana products are off the streets.

Sheriff Copeland says they are waiting for lab results to find out if illegal substances are in the product.

Officials say they are suspicious of two other stores in the area that sell the product.

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