AUSTIN (KXAN) — Surveillance of an east Austin apartment prompted Austin police to arrest two men suspected of distributing the synthetic drug that has caused a ‘total drain’ of downtown emergency resources.
Augustine Amaro, 21, and Rojelio Amaro Jr., 24, are walking the streets of Austin after posting bond for their felony possession charges they received when police arrested them Tuesday around 1 p.m. at the apartment located at 1137 Gunter St.
Rojelio Amaro was found inside and confessed to having K2 inside. Police found 87 bags of the substance which has left dozens in the hospital.
The Austin Police Department’s organized crime commander Troy Officer explained in March how “predator dealers” come downtown and target the homeless community surrounding the ARCH. Thirty-six people had been arrested at the time, including the Amaros.
Unlike dealing with an epidemic of crack cases, where officers can quickly identify the drug using field tests and arrest the suspect, when officers encounter a person with a substance they suspect to be K2 or another synthetic drug, they have to confiscate the drug and send it off for testing and let the person go. It takes months of lab testing to identify the drug before a warrant can be issued for the person’s arrest.
Just last week, Austin police said they were putting more officers around the ARCH in an effort to target drug dealers who are selling K2 to the homeless population.