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Teen charged with selling hallucinogenic mushroom

Juan Garcia, 19, was arraigned Oct. 9, 2014

Juan Garcia, 19, was arraigned Oct. 9, 2014 in a Riverhead courtroom on six felony counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Photo Credit: Suffolk County District Attorney's Office

A 19-year-old man who Suffolk prosecutors said supplied a Stony Brook University student with a synthetic hallucinogen that left him with severe injuries has been charged with selling other drugs.

Juan Garcia, a Suffolk County Community College student, was arraigned Thursday in a Riverhead courtroom on six felony counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Creighton told State Supreme Court Justice Martin Efman that Garcia was not a Stony Brook student but went there in August because "his client base" lived there.

Creighton said Garcia sold to a handful of students a new drug, Nbome -- a synthetic hallucinogen that is not classified as a controlled substance, according to prosecutors. Everyone but Sergio Jimenez spit out the tablet; he had a seizure and his organs shut down, Creighton said.

He remains at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan with brain damage, unable to speak or breathe on his own, with kidney and liver failure, his father said.

Garcia has not been charged in connection with the alleged sale of Nbome. But he is charged with possessing a hallucinogenic mushroom named psilocybin and selling it to an undercover officer on Sept. 9 and 10, according to indictment. The Amityville resident was arrested Sept. 10. He gave a written confession, Creighton said.

Garcia's attorney, Scott Gross, said in an interview his client did not sell drugs. Gross entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Garcia, a 2013 Farmingdale High School graduate who had attended Stony Brook.

Efman set bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

"Everyone who I've spoken to about Juan will tell you he's one of best kids you'll ever meet," Gross said.

But Jimenez's father, also named Sergio, said outside of court that Garcia was "a ruthless criminal" who "destroyed my family's life all trying to make a quick buck."

Jimenez, of Queens, said his only son, a sophomore, wanted to be a social studies or history teacher.

He and his wife now spend nights at his bedside. "If this is not hell, I don't know what is," Jimenez said. He said the university should be "more vigorous" about tackling the "drug issues" on campus.

In a statement, Peter Baigent, Stony Brook's vice president for student affairs, said: "The health and safety of our students is a top priority . . . and what has befallen Sergio Jimenez is incredibly tragic."

Jimenez said he last saw his son at a family reunion in New Jersey, hours before he ingested the hallucinogen on Aug. 31. "Bye Daddy," the boy said, kissing his father.

"Take care," his father said.


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