Following up several overdose cases involving use of synthetic marijuana, Utica Police have seized what they believe is tainted product and made two arrests.

UPD issued a public safety alert earlier this week while investigating the overdose incidents, saying they believed the victims had consumed synthetic marijuana laced with benzodiazepine. Following searches of two area smoke shops, investigators say they did find synthetic pot laced with Alprazolam - a benzodiazepine often prescribed to treat anxiety or panic disorders.

UPD arrest two in connection with investigation of laced synthetic marijuana tied to local overdoses.
UPD arrest two in connection with investigation of laced synthetic marijuana tied to local overdoses.

An online check of that substance says it may cause serious life-threatening breathing issues, sedation or coma, via

Now, Utica Police say the laced products were found at Romano Convenience at 1321 Oneida Street and at Utica Smoke Shop on James Street.

Robert Hill, 36, and Bandar Altairi, 36, both from Utica were charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Additionally the following was seized from at the two smoke shops:

  • Romano Smoke Shop: 258 packages of synthetic marijuana– found to contain Alprazolam, 63 Untaxed cigarettes, $896.00 in cash
  • Utica Smoke Shop:  58 packages of synthetic marijuana – found to contain Alprazolam, 74 Untaxed cigarettes and $2,083.00 in cash.

UPD investigators were assisted in the case by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the Oneida County District Attorney's Office, police said.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: This post is for informational purposes. The information provided within was provided publicly by law enforcement. Any charges or accusations of wrongdoing mentioned in the article are only allegations and the reader is reminded that all persons are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.]

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