Synthetic drug leads to murder charge
Minneapolis - A Minnesota man was being held on a murder charge on Monday after authorities said he brought a synthetic drug to a party that killed one teen and sent 10 others to the hospital.
Timothy Richard Lamere, 21, of Blaine, was charged with unintentional third-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Trevor Vance Robinson-Davis. Prosecutors say Lamere caused Robinson-Davis' death by providing him with a synthetic substance called 2C-E.
The complaint filed in Anoka County District Court said Lamere arrived at a party in Blaine with a bottle containing a substance that he said would cause hallucinations.
Witnesses told police Lamere offered the drug to anyone who wanted it and that he poured it onto a table and divided it into lines.
Witnesses told police Lamere inhaled the drug through his nose, as did Robinson-Davis. The complaint said Robinson-Davis began "punching walls, breaking items, staring and having dilated pupils and yelling".
Then, Robinson-Davis stopped breathing and was taken to the hospital, where he died on Thursday.
Adverse side effects
Preliminary autopsy results show Robinson-Davis died of cardiac arrest due to the toxicity of the drug. He had no pre-existing natural disease that would explain his death, the complaint said.
Everyone who inhaled or ingested the drug appeared to have adverse side effects. When officers first arrived, a group of young people, ages 16 through 21, were suffering from drug side effects. Some were having trouble breathing, some appeared to be hallucinating, and others acted violently and struggled with medical personnel.
A message left on Monday at Lamere's home was not immediately returned. Authorities said he was in custody, but they could not say where.
Officials say 2C-E is a synthetic drug that can be bought online. It is a "cousin drug" to a banned rave-party drug. Sometimes known as "Europa", 2C-E is not specifically listed as a banned drug but is defined as a controlled substance.
Often comparable to ‘club drugs’
The various 2C drugs fall into a family known as phenethlyamines - hallucinogens with similar chemical structures. They have effects comparable to much better known "club drugs" such as Ecstasy.
The drugs are often marketed on the Internet as "research chemicals" in an effort to skirt drug laws, and some suppliers claim they are not intended for human consumption.
Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff's Department said Lamere purchased the drug from an online chemical retailer. The criminal complaint said Lamere had 8.9 grams of the drug in a bottle in his pocket.
Synthetic drugs have been problematic for law enforcement.
The Drug Enforcement Administration recently put a temporary ban on five chemicals often used in synthetic marijuana, and last week, US Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced legislation to make that ban permanent.
Call to ban synthetic drugs
On Monday, she said she'd work to include 2C-E in her proposed legislation.
Klobuchar said there have been numerous reports of synthetic drugs causing people to act violently, and have led to deaths or injuries to themselves and others.
"These drugs should be made illegal and the chemicals used to make them should be banned so that they can no longer be easily purchased online and in stores around the country," Klobuchar said in a statement.
"We need to take action now before these substances endanger any more lives."
Lamere faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $40 000 fine if convicted.