Cops crack down on cannabis substitutes sold at corner stores

[attach]6880[/attach]Toronto Police are warning the public about a smokable cannabis substitute they say is an illegal health hazard, but is being sold in variety stores across the city.

In a news release, police said they seized 55 packages of the product on from stores in 54 and 55 divisions on Mar. 4 following an investigation by the Drug Squad that began the previous month. The investigation is continuing.

The product was sold under the various names including IZMS Grape Drank and Luau Love and police say they were falsely marked as being legal. Owners of the stores selling the product were not charged, but cautioned and reminded the product is illegal.

Toronto Police also cited Health Canada as recently warning the public about smoking herbal incense products, saying they can cause symptoms like seizures, hallucinations and acute psychosis.

Police said they are classified as “synthetic cannabinoids”, which makes them illegal under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Thanks were extended to the public from the police, who said it was as a result of concerned educators knowing these products were available near schools that allowed for the Drug Squad to make the seizures at various stores.

Police also said any business owners who have the products should contact them, as they will continue checking for the products at various locations, as well as investigating the distribution chain.

Man killed by van on Victoria Park Avenue

A man who was struck by a van while crossing Victoria Park Avenue has died from his injuries.

Police announced on Mar. 8 that the man had become the seventh traffic fatality of 2013 after being struck three days earlier. On Mar. 5 just before 9:30 p.m., two men were crossing Victoria Park mid-block from west to the east, with a 35-year-old male friend of theirs several steps behind.

At the same time, a 2005 Ford Econoline 250 van driven by a 31-year-old man was going northbound on Victoria Park in the curb lane.

The 35-year-old man stepped in front of the van and was struck. He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and succumbed to them on Mar. 7.

Homicide victim may have had gang ties

The victim of Toronto’s ninth homicide this year had ties to the Woodbine Heights area of East York.

Thuan Nguyen, 25, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Feb. 24 this year outside of Vy Vy Restaurant and Lounge at 425 Signet Dr. in North York. Police responding to the scene discovered Nguyen in the parking lot, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have reportedly been looking into Nguyen’s possible ties to organized crime and drug trafficking to see if that has any connection to his death. It has also been reported that Nguyen was under house arrest at the time of his murder stemming from a Nov. 2012 arrest for drug possession.

However, the Town Crier also reported back in Sept. 2012 that Nguyen was one of 12 people picked up in a drug bust near Woodbine and Sammon avenues.

At the time, police said they had acted on complaints from the community regarding a house in the area possibly being frequented by drug users.

Police from 54 Division began an investigation on Sept. 23 and said they learned the house was being used both to consume and traffic drugs. Three days later, they executed a search warrant on the home and seized cocaine, heroin and Canadian currency.

A total of 12 people were arrested and charged in connection with the investigation, eight of whom were apprehended during the raid. Nguyen was one of those and was charged with possession of heroin, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime.