Los Angeles police Thursday announced the arrests of five people in connection with the distribution of the synthetic drug "spice" on Skid Row.
Following the Wednesday arrests, police raided a South Los Angeles building believed to have been a manufacturing location of the drug blamed for sickening dozens of people on Skid Row in recent weeks. Police recovered money, drugs and chemicals used to manufacture spice, according to the LAPD.
The suspects -- whose names were not immediately released -- were arrested about noon Wednesday in the area of Fifth and San Pedro streets by LAPD narcotics investigators.
"These arrests are significant due to the fact that these individuals targeted the homeless residents of Skid Row by providing an inexpensive alternative to other drugs that in many cases caused the user to develop life threatening side effects," according to an LAPD statement. "Many of these medical emergencies required the response of emergency medical services and transport to local area emergency rooms.
The LAPD along with local community groups will continue to disseminate health warning information in a continuing effort to reduce the number of 'spice' related overdoses and to educate the public of the dangers of illicit 'spice' usage."
Police say in addition to being less expensive and far more psychoactive than marijuana, it can also have serious side effects including "loss of consciousness, paranoia, tachycardia and psychotic episodes."
"Over recent months, there have been numerous overdoses related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids among the homeless population in Skid Row, with two mass overdose incidents in the area last week that resulted in over 50 people being transported to the hospital," police said.