Four teens who were taken to the hospital after being found unresponsive or screaming were given synthetic marijuana by an older man who showed up at the park in a silver Ford Mustang, police said.
The teens, who were all skipping school and were found in Sewell Park at 1801 S. River Dr., were eventually treated and released from Jackson Memorial Hospital, but not before identifying Jordy Garcia, 20, as the man who provided them the chemical that in this case is referred to as “Ambrosia.”
Miami police later found Garcia, and charged him with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He wasn’t charged with a drug-related crime because Ambrosia can be legally purchased at most smoke shops by anyone 18 or over.
“Fortunately, the kids are alive,” said Miami Police Spokeswoman Kenia Fallat.
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Synthetic marijuana, also commonly called Spice, has been a contentious issue with municipal governments, and with hospital workers who have had to deal with troves of kids and young adults who have shown up in various hallucinatory states the past few years.
It’s essentially a chemical made in some type of laboratory that is supposed to duplicate the effects of marijuana. It’s also often smoked in a hookah — a bong-like device used commonly by past generations to smoke weed — that has several arms extending from a base filled with water.
Police said they were called to Sewell Park Thursday morning because neighbors complained about kids “screaming uncontrollably.”
When police arrived, they found an unconscious 14-year-old girl lying face down on the ground, and two older teens “teetering in and out of consciousness.” A 15-year-old who was trying to help his friends eventually began complaining of chest pains and was taken to the hospital as well.
The girl police found unconscious told police she had no recollection of being taken to the hospital. The 15-year-old who was trying to help his friends told police “Jordy” arrived at the park and gave them a joint of the synthetic drug, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Several minutes later,” the arrest affidavit says, “these victims began displaying abnormal behavior ranging from loss of consciousness to physical pain.”