It is unclear why anyone in Houston continues to believe it is a good idea to sell the synthetic drug kush, unless they are wholly unaware that the Houston Police Department and City of Houston do not show any sign of easing their relentless crackdown on sellers and manufacturers.
In yet another kush sting-operation press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner and new Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the most successful operation yet: Thursday night, police seized more than 300 pounds of kush — or 14,000 packages; 84,000 doses worth about $2.2 million on the street. It might as well have been Christmas morning for the HPD Narcotics Division.
For context, since the crackdown began in June, police had seized 600 pounds total until last night's big hit. Police have also made more than 200 arrests since then.
"We want to be smart about how we approach this problem. Going after the low-level consumer will not be the most effective measure," Turner said. "The people using kush are walking like zombies through our parks and streets and can be very aggressive. But just removing them does not really mitigate the problem. Instead, we want to go after the people who are selling it. Thanks to the efforts of officers of the HPD narcotics division, we've made a significant impact on the problem."
Police declined to identify the "major player" they arrested or give any details on the undercover sting operation, saying the investigation was ongoing. Still, Turner said he believes Thursday's success made a good-sized dent in illicit kush market, and estimates that taking that amount of kush off the streets will save thousands of EMS calls and free up first responders to tackle other medical emergencies or serious crime.
Houston Medical Director Dr. David Persse reported that paramedics responded to 187 kush cases in September, 97 in October and just 78 in November. "Clearly our efforts are having an impact," Turner said, "and the efforts will not stop but only intensify."
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Turner said he wanted to bring the thousands of packages of kush to the press conference to show everyone the mind-boggling amount of seized drugs up close, but he was shot down. "It's one of the few times this year that the mayor has been overruled," he joked.
We tried to take photos of the photos, but we couldn't fit all of the drugs in the frame. Neither could they, apparently.