SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Two township men have been arrested for allegedly possessing e-cigarettes containing THC and targeting them for sale to high school students.
Mazen Abdelhamid, 19, and Kimani Daniel, 18, both from the Monmouth Junction section, have been charged with possession of more than 5 ounces of hashish (high concentration THC) with intent to distribute, possession of more than 5 ounces of hashish and employing a juvenile in a CDS distribution scheme, South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in a release.
The juvenile, a 17-year-old, was charged in the distribution scheme, the release states.
THC is the main psychoactive agent in marijuana, which causes the high, according to WebMD.com.
The two-month investigation began after police saw an increase in high school students using e-cigarettes such as Juul, laced with THC, the release states.
Detectives found a social media site targeting the sale of narcotics to South Brunswick youths and learned the site was being run by Abdelhamid who was allegedly receiving drug packages by mail, the release states.
Abdelhamid allegedly advertised he was selling cartridges, raw marijuana and THC candies including “Stoney Patch Kids” which looked like real candy named Sour Patch Kids. He allegedly used Snapchat to solicit sales and offered to drive to meet buyers. On two occasions in the past month residents reported Abdelhamid as possibly selling drugs in different neighborhoods, the release states.
Township police were joined in the investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service who identified three suspicious packages sent to Abdelhamid during the second week of July, the release states.
On July 12, detectives and undercover postal inspectors monitored the Northumberland Apartment complex as a mail carrier left the three packages in a hallway in front of an apartment. Shortly after, Daniel was spotted by detectives picking up the packages in the hallway. Detectives approached Daniel who indicated the packages were going to be picked up by a 17-year-old in a few minutes, the release states.
Police arrested Daniel, the 17-year-old and Abdelhamid who was waiting in his apartment in the complex next door, the release states.
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The three packages contained $6,400 worth of narcotics including 160 e-cigarette cartridges containing THC, the release states.
“The marked increase in Juul usage and the difficulty in detecting THC in the e-cigarettes is marking juveniles more susceptible to dealers. This group used Instagram and other social media to buy the drugs and market themselves to young people,” Hayducka said. “Stopping this group and raising awareness for parents is key to getting ahead of this growing trend.”
Hayducka praised the partnerships the department has with putting the case together.
“There was excellent work by South Brunswick Detective Tim Hoover and U.S. Postal Inspectors Rob Waltz to identify the people involved, track the drugs, and stop the sales,” said Hayducka, who also thanked the United States Postal Inspection Service, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, North Brunswick Police, and the South Brunswick School District for their assistance and cooperation.
Suzanne Russell covers crime, courts and other forms of mayhem from throughout the Central Jersey area for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.