Man, 23, arrested in 'designer drug' bust

Deputies warn of dangerous trend

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Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Ricardo Chavarriaga Jr.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies in Clay County say the recent arrest of a 23-year-old Jacksonville man highlights what local law enforcement sees as a dangerous trend involving the possession and sale of "designer drugs."

Ricardo Chavarriaga Jr. was arrested Thursday by deputies and Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

Investigators said Chavarriaga was in possession of 25I-NBOMe -- a controlled substance -- with intent to sell. They said he was also in possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

Deputies said 25I became a controlled substance on Dec. 11 under an emergency order signed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The drug is a form of synthetic LSD, a hallucinogen.

Deputies said they saw Chavarriaga park his car in a storage facility on Blanding Boulevard, leave a short time later and pull into a nearby Burger King. DEA agents conducted a vehicle takedown in the restaurant parking lot.

Chavarriaga and his girlfriend were taken into custody. Investigators said they found the controlled substance in the car. They said they also searched the storage facility and found 63 sheets of 25I, several rounds of ammo, marijuana, 96 sheets of blotter paper, a rifle, a pistol, and a number of other drug paraphernalia.

"Our agency wants to warn the community that the chemicals used to produce this and other forms of synthetic drugs can change frequently, are highly volatile and can cause serious health problems in users," Clay County Capt. Barry Abramowitz said.

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