FARMINGTON — According to a toxicology report for John Marszalek II, the 26-year-old man had THC in his blood system when he was killed in an officer-involved shooting in March.
The toxicology report was provided to The Daily Times by the San Juan County District Attorney's Office. According to Georgette Allen, a Farmington Police Department public information officer, medical investigators screened for all "commonly abused substances," which include heroin, crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.
The report states that Marszalek did not have alcohol in his system at the time of his death. The report indicates that there were no other commonly abused substances in his system besides THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said that the test was incomplete because investigators failed to screen for synthetic cannabinoids, commonly referred to as "spice."
O'Brien said he had requested that the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator test specifically for synthetic cannabinoids, but, as far as he was aware, the test was not performed.
Allen said Farmington police have requested that the medical investigator's office perform the additional test. She said the department does not know how long it will be before results are available. Amy Boule, director of operations for the medical investigator's office, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Marzalek was shot by Marshals Service Deputy Chris Spencer on March 12 after leading police on a high-speed car chase through Farmington. Police said the chase ended after Marszalek crashed into a patrol car at Butler Avenue and 20th Street. He was stabbing himself repeatedly in the neck and ramming the patrol car when he was shot, police said.
The San Juan County District Attorney's Office is currently investigating the incident to determine whether the shooting was justified or a criminal act.
O'Brien said his office requested that Marszalek's blood be tested for spice because the drug might explain his unusual behavior on the day of the crash.
"Our anecdotal experience from cases is that when people use (spice) they exhibit behaviors like that," he said. "We find incredibly bizarre behaviors using those types of drugs."
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic cannabinoids are sold under many names, including K2, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks. The products contain dried, shredded plant material that is coated with a chemical additive intended to mimic the high produced by smoking marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration has designated as illegal the five active chemicals most commonly found in spice. And many states, including New Mexico, have laws banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoids.
However, O'Brien said the drug is still sold at local stores and can be purchased online.