The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida has announced that they have arrested a 22-year-old Palm Beach woman with importing and possessing with attempt to distribute flakka.
DEA Agents stationed in London received information from British authorities over several packages that had been intercepted from a chemical company in Hong Kong, China. The Chinese chemical company had been using a worldwide express delivery service to ship a-PVP — flakka's main ingredient — to buyers in the United States, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
British authorities found multiple packages that contained a white crystallized substance that tested positive for the presence of a-PVP.
It was during an ongoing investigation on the trafficking of molly and other cathinones in the U.S. that authorities received word of suspected narcotics packages being delivered to Palm Beach County. DEA agents delivered packages to an address in Palm Beach County where a woman answered the door and took it. One of the packages was addressed to Jaime Nicole Lewis. The package allegedly containing a-PVP had her address and telephone number as well, authorities say.
Lewis and the other woman were arrested.
According to a criminal complaint, Lewis is specifically charged with "importing and possessing with the intent to distribute Alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (a-PVP), aka 'Flakka' and the conspiracy to do the same."
Lewis is facing a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.
"The manufacture, sale, and abuse of synthetic drugs represents a clear and detrimental danger to our society," said Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright via a statement. "These substances serve no legitimate purpose other than to generate a powerful intoxication for the user while generating enormous illicit profits for the criminal organizations who sell them. These powerful chemicals are generally manufactured and produced in a foreign laboratory environment without safety protocols nor concerns for their potential negative effects which ultimately leaves the users at great risk of death."
Flakka has been dominating the headlines as of late, due to its rise in incidents in South Florida. An extremely low-priced drug, one kilogram can produce as many as 10,000 individual doses that can then be sold for just $4 or $5 on the street at 1/10 a gram at a time. The drug is known to cause hallucinations and paranoia.
In February, a man was arrested after he stripped naked and climbed onto the roof of a building with a gun, threatening himself and others. In April, another man was arrested after he was found having sex with a tree. He told police that he was God and Thor, and when they tried to Taser him, he pulled the prongs off with his hands and attacked an officer.
Because it's cheap and addictive, flakka has been on a steady rise in South Florida. In 2014, Broward Sheriff's Office analyzed 191 alpha-PVP cases, compared to 275 in the first three months of this year alone.
You can read New Times' complete guide to flakka here.