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State

Sheriff asks for help finding synthetic marijuana dealers

A man holds a bag of synthetic marijuana June 29, 2016, in Houston. In a report released Tuesday, fake marijuana likely contaminated with rat poison has killed three people in Illinois and sickened more than 100 others in the past month.
A man holds a bag of synthetic marijuana June 29, 2016, in Houston. In a report released Tuesday, fake marijuana likely contaminated with rat poison has killed three people in Illinois and sickened more than 100 others in the past month.

PEORIA – The Peoria County sheriff is asking the public for more help combating a deadly outbreak of severe bleeding due to synthetic marijuana.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell pleaded at a Tuesday news conference, “Please, please, anyone with information please contact us.” Illinois Department of Public Health statistics show that Peoria County and neighboring Tazewell County have 66 of the 114 reported cases statewide as of Tuesday afternoon. Three people in Illinois have died.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reported that the sheriff said authorities want to know where the product is coming from. He said police are looking for dealers, not users. Asbell said health privacy laws are complicating investigations because they prevent hospitals from calling police when someone comes in for treatment.

The Illinois outbreak started in March.

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