The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has been linked to two deaths.
Federal prosecutors have charged 48-year-old Fouad Masoud and 44-year-old Jamil Abdelrahman Jad Allah, both of suburban Justice, and 44-year-old Adil Khan Mohammed of Chicago with conspiring to distribute and sell a controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic cannabinoids at Masoud's West Side Chicago store.
Federal officials say synthetic cannabinoids were packaged in sealed containers and labeled with such names as 'Matrix,' 'Blue Giant,' and 'Crazy Monkey.' Testing of the products revealed brodifacoum, a toxic substance commonly used in rat poison.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says 56 people have been hospitalized for severe bleeding after using the substance since about March 10th. Those cases have included coughing up blood, having blood in their urine or having severe nose or gum bleeds. Some are also bleeding from their ears and eyes.
27 cases are in Peoria and Tazewell Counties, 23 are in Cook and 2 in Kankakee. There’s 1 case in each McLean, DuPage, Will, and Kane counties. Two people have died. Both are men in their 20's from Peoria and Chicago.
Officials are stressing not to take or give away any form of fake weed and to call 911 or go the Emergency Department if is bleeding or bruising after ingesting the substance.