Two Men Charged With Selling Pokémon-Branded Heroin

By Kelly Burch 01/10/18

Police reportedly seized 35 packets of heroin, 36 rocks of crack, 7 grams of cocaine and $400 in cash from the bust.

Pikachu sitting in the grass

Two men in Massachusetts have been charged with selling heroin with a unique twist, packaged in baggies branded with Pikachu, a popular character from the Pokémon game.

Brayan Mejias, 18, is being held on a $2,500 bail and faces six charges, including distribution of heroin, distribution of cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, conspiracy to violate narcotic drug laws, and violation of a drug-free zone. He has entered a not guilty plea, according to Mass Live.

Mejias was arrested alongside Reuben Santiago, 25, who was charged with distribution of heroin, possession of heroin and crack cocaine, each with intent to distribute, violation of a drug-free school zone and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Jayson Kendell, 41, and a juvenile were also arrested. 

Police seized 35 packets of heroin—including heroin branded with the Pikachu character—36 rocks of crack, 7 grams of cocaine and $400 in cash, said Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh. The operation was undertaken by the Springfield Police's Strategic Impact Unit.

Pokémon is a Japanese cartoon series that has become a global phenomenon over the past 20 years. The game saw a resurgence in popularity when the Pokémon Go mobile app was launched in 2016. 

It’s not unheard of for drug dealers to brand their drugs with pop culture references. One of the most widespread examples was blue methamphetamine that mimicked the fictional brand created on the show Breaking Bad. The blue meth surfaced in New Mexico in 2014, and reportedly made users violently ill.

“It’s actually being moved and pushed by various distributors. It’s truly bad,” Kevin Abar, spokesperson for the federal Department of Homeland Security in Albuquerque said at the time. “We’re concerned that individuals may find it sexy and want to try it and utilize the drug and it’s very addictive.”

Most recently, Game of Thrones-branded heroin showed up in Massachusetts. In August, a 32-year-old man overdosed on the drug, which caught the attention of the authorities. 

Popular shows and fictional characters aren’t the only ones being used to bolster drug sales. In April 2016 a New Hampshire woman was charged with selling heroin branded with Donald Trump's name

“I also observed that each wax bag was stamped with a ‘Donald Trump’ logo,” an undercover buyer wrote in a court document. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.