AURORA, Colo. - The Colorado Attorney General's office has filed a civil lawsuit against an Aurora convenience store accused of selling synthetic cannabinoids, commonly called "spice," that are linked to an August 2013 outbreak that sent more than 260 people to Colorado emergency rooms.
During the outbreak, patient symptoms included "agitation, paranoia, hallucinations and seizures," the lawsuit said. "Some patients were violent, others unresponsive or even comatose. Some required intensive care unit treatment. Three deaths from this period are currently under investigation as potentially linked to synthetic cannabinoids."
The lawsuit was filed against Paymon's Market, Inc., and the stores' owner-operators, Rhamatollah Ghamari and Paymon Eliott Ghamari, in Arapahoe County District Court.
State prosecutors accuse the owners of selling products with "deceptive labeling that failed to warn consumers that the contents contained dangerous and illegal synthetic cannabinoids."
"The labeling on Paymon’s spice products contained misleading statements such as 'No Banned Chemical,' 'It’s Legal,' '100% Cannabinoid Free,' and 'DEA Compliant,' which is illegal under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act," prosecutors said.
"Paymon marketed these spice products as safe and legal when in fact they are very dangerous as well as illegal," Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement sent to 7NEWS.
Prosecutors said Aurora Police and the Colorado Department of Revenue took 1,181 packages from Paymon's Market in July 2013. The packages included product names like "Crazy Monkey," "Mad Monkey," "Sexy Monkey," and "iBlown."
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations analyzed five samples of the spice products sold by Paymon’s. Prosecutors said all five contained illegal synthetic cannabinoids.
Two samples from "Crazy Monkey" and "Sexy Monkey" spice products contained AB-PINACA, a chemical analog of APINACA., "a banned synthetic cannabinoid that was linked to the August 2013 synthetic cannabinoid outbreak," the lawsuit said.
Our attempts to contact the Ghamaris were not successful.
The current owner of the market, where the Paymon's sign has been removed, told 7NEWS he bought the store three months ago and the Ghamaris are no longer there.
In September, on the Paymon's Market Facebook page, the owners denied the allegations, stating, "We do not sell spice."
Ray Ghamari spoke to 7NEWS in April of 2012 after his son was shot in the arm during a robbery at the store.
"He didn't die, so you've got to be happy," the father said at the time.