County Attorney Announces Second Kush Crackdown in As Many Days

Another kush-selling smoke shop may be soon biting the dust after the Harris County Attorney's Office won yet another temporary restraining order in its fight against the kush epidemic.

The county attorney's office obtained a temporary restraining order against ST Smoke Shop, located in the "Bissonnet Corridor" between the Sam Houston Tollway and the Southwest Freeway, after undercover Houston Police Department officers caught the store owners red-handed selling kush under the counter.

In April, an officer wearing plain clothes entered ST Smoke Shop and asked for kush — but the clerk told him the shop doesn't sell kush and doesn't know who does. The officer then got more specific, asking for the brands "Scooby Snax" and "Klimax 3X," popular brands of kush on the streets. That's when the clerk pulled out a full list of kush brands sold at the location.

After purchasing the drugs and taking them to the Houston Forensic Science Center to confirm they were kush, the officers returned with a warrant and ended up finding 443 grams of kush — half of which was buried at the bottom of a trash bag — 78 grams of marijuana and 49 grams of codeine.

As part of the temporary injunction, the store will have to hire two uniformed police officers to work security at the store; County Attorney Vince Ryan will seek a permanent injunction at final trial.

Just yesterday, Ryan obtained yet another injunction against a Gulf Freeway convenience store selling the stuff illegally. In a statement, Ryan said, "We will take whatever steps necessary to stop the sale of kush, including shutting down their business, if necessary," Ryan said in his statement."

The Harris County Attorney's Office has been suing shops like ST Smoke Shop under the Deceptive Trade Act for well over a year now, accusing the shops — many times successfully — of illegally selling the synthetic drug with false or misleading labels on its packaging. While the Drug Enforcement Agency has said kush, sometimes called K-2 or spice, can cause psychotic symptoms or seizures, the drug is often sold in bright-colored packages that say "incense" or "potpourri," and "not for human consumption."

The county's crackdown has gotten seemingly more intense after Mayor Sylvester Turner announced in June that ending the kush epidemic would be top priority for city law enforcement, which often aides the county attorney's office in identifying the illegal sellers and distributors in undercover sting operations.

See our feature earlier this year on what the kush epidemic has done to both the city and all those whom the drug affects on a daily basis.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn