UPDATED: Two Quad-City men have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of dealing a synthetic drug called “shrimp.”

Christopher B. Engelbrecht, 26, of Davenport and James Anthony Hernandez, 48, of Moline are charged with one count of importing 4-methylethcathinone, or

4-MEC, and one count of distributing 4-MEC in Rock Island County from August 2011 to October 2012. Engelbrecht also is charged with one count of attempting to import 4-MEC on or about Sept. 7, 2012.

Hernandez has an initial appearance set for 2:15 p.m. today in U.S. District Court, Peoria, Ill. Engelbrecht has a pretrial conference set for

1:30 p.m. Friday in U.S. District Court, Rock Island.

“Shrimp is the street name for it,” Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group director Kevin Winslow said of 4-MEC.

QCMEG is handling the ongoing investigation that resulted in the arrests of Engelbrecht and Hernandez in October, and Winslow said he expects “a multitude of other arrests.”

Engelbrecht and a confidential source used the Internet to buy 4-MEC from China, according to a criminal complaint against Engelbrecht.

Police searched Engelbrecht’s home at 7111 N. Oak St., Davenport, on Jan. 20, 2012, and found steroids, packaging material, cannabis and cocaine, the complaint states.

On Feb. 23, 2012, Moline police searched the home of the confidential source and seized

298.5 grams of 4-MEC, five Western Union money orders for various amounts of money that were sent to China, several invoice slips for packages that appeared to have been shipped from China, a digital scale, steroids contained inside glass vials and $336 in cash, the complaint states.

On several occasions, Engelbrecht gave the confidential source $3,500 to pay for a package of 4-MEC to be delivered from China, and when the package arrived, the confidential source kept 200 grams of the drug and gave 800 grams to Engelbrecht, the complaint states.

The complaint states others were involved in the conspiracy but doesn’t name them.

Winslow said local police are seeing an influx of synthetic drugs, especially 4-MEC.

“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “You never know what’s in it. Users report never getting the same high from it. One high is very intense because of how the batch was made. Another time, it’s not severe at all. Backyard chemists are making these concoctions.”

He said he has heard reports of users having hallucinations and intense euphoria and one user whose legs went numb for hours.

He said 4-MEC is sold in powder form and snorted and is similar in nature to stimulants such as methamphetamine and ecstasy. The drug also bears a chemical resemblance to mephedrone, one of the active ingredients of bath salts, another popular synthetic drug.

“You don’t know who mixed it or where it comes from,” Winslow said.

He said 4-MEC went under the radar for a few years until the recent onslaught of synthetic drugs such as K2 and bath salts.

The drug is not specifically listed as a scheduled controlled substance, according to Engelbrecht’s complaint. By law, however, an unscheduled substance may be treated as a controlled substance if it was intended for human consumption.

Asked why the charges are being heard in federal court, Winslow said his agency as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which has agents in the Quad-Cities, target dealers “we feel are responsible for either making the decisions, funding or taking major roles in bringing illegal substances into the Quad-Cities.”


Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

EARLIER STORY: Two Quad-City men have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of dealing a synthetic drug called “shrimp.”

Christopher B. Engelbrecht, 26, of Davenport and James Anthony Hernandez, 48, of Moline have their initial appearances set for 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Peoria.

They each are charged with one count of importing 4-methylethcathinone, or 4-MEC, and one count of distributing 4-MEC in Rock Island County from August 2011 to October 2012. Engelbrecht also is charged with one count of attempting to import 4-MEC on or about Sept. 7, 2012.

“Shrimp is the street name for it,” Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group director Kevin Winslow said of 4-MEC.

QCMEG is handling the ongoing investigation that resulted in the arrests of Engelbrecht and Hernandez in October, and Winslow said he expects “a multitude of other arrests.”

Winslow said local police are seeing an influx of synthetic drugs, especially 4-MEC.

“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “You never know what’s in it. Users report never getting the same high from it. One high is very intense because of how the batch was made. Another time, it’s not severe at all. Backyard chemists are making these concoctions.”

He said he’s heard reports of users having hallucinations and intense euphoria and one user whose legs went numb for hours.

He said 4-MEC is sold in powder form and snorted and is similar in nature to stimulants such as methamphetamine and ecstasy. The drug also bears a chemical resemblance to mephedrone, one of the active ingredients of bath salts, another popular synthetic drug.

“You don’t know who mixed it or where it comes from,” Winslow said.

He said 4-MEC went under the radar for a few years until the recent onslaught of synthetic drugs such as K2 and bath salts.

Asked why the charges are being heard in federal court, Winslow said his agency as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which has agents in the Quad-Cities, target dealers “we feel are responsible for either making the decisions, funding or taking major roles in bringing illegal substances into the Quad-Cities.”

0
0
0
0
0