Police last week relied on a confidential informant to arrest a 24-year-old man on charges of trafficking an opioid cocktail called “Purple Drank,” a mixture of the anti-histamine promethazine, the narcotic codeine and Sprite.
The cocktail, also known as “Lean” and “Sizzurp,” is popular among young people, investigators said in a search warrant made public Monday at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office. Its first users appeared to be adolescents in Houston, Texas, according to a 2003 report published in the Journal of Drug Education.
The illicit substance came to national attention several years ago when the rapper Lil Wayne openly talked about his struggles with the addictive drug that’s listed as a Schedule V controlled drug under federal law.
Police charged Omar Brahim Azizbi of Carolyn Drive with trafficking in opium and heroin on Thursday after he sold a pint of the drug to a confidential informant for $290, according to the City-County Bureau of Identification.
Police also charged Aizizbi with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana after they discovered more than 279 grams of packaged marijuana, more than 283 grams of an edible spread that contained tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical compound found in marijuana; nearly 26 grams of gummies that contained THC, along with macaroon cookies, popcorn, lozenges and other edibles that contained THC, according to the search warrant application.
In addition to the pint of Purple Drank syrup Azizbi is accused of selling to an informant, detectives found seven empty promethazine syrup bottles and five counterfeit $20 bills, according to the search warrant. Police charged Azizbi with five counts of felony possession of a counterfeit instrument, according to records filed with CCBI.
Investigators targeted Azizbi after a confidential source told them that he was selling the cocktail from his home, Raleigh detective J.D. Rattelade wrote in the search warrant application. After the informant agreed to participate in a controlled purchase from Azizbi, police gave him pre-recorded money and kept him under physical and electronic surveillance while the transaction took place, according to the search warrant.
“Promethazine impairs motor skills and Codeine causes a euphoric feeling,” Rattalade wrote. “Consuming too much of the cocktail can result in an overdose and death.”
The cocktail was briefly part of a national conversation among rap fans and other celebrities in 2013 when Lil Wayne suffered several seizures in one week that hospitalized him twice. According to The Daily Beast, Lil Wayne was treated with seizure medications, but several of his friends thought the real culprit behind his failing health was a longtime habit of sipping Purple Drank.
Wayne, according to The Daily Beast, openly acknowledged the difficulty he had trying to break a habit that was described as “all the rage down South.”
“Wayne also found success in 2008 with the track ‘Me and My Drank,’ which detailed his addiction to the sometimes deadly mixture,” according to The Daily Beast.”
But quitting the syrup, Wayne reportedly told an MTV reporter, “feels like death in your stomach when you stop.”
Police transported Azizbi to the Wake County jail. He is being held in lieu of a $500,000 bail, a jail spokesman reported Monday afternoon.