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GPS Device In Cough Syrup Leads To Arrest Of Two Men

Willie Clark, left, and Brian Salinas, right. (Photos courtesy of the Tustin Police Department)
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Two suspects had allegedly broken into a Tustin pharmacy earlier this month and ran off with cough syrup. Apparently, the loot was their downfall, as one of the bottles of cough syrup had a GPS tracking device planted inside, reports KTLA.

The device would lead Tustin police to the alleged burglars—Willie Clark, 21, and Brian Salinas, 20—who were later discovered in Rowland Heights, where one of the suspects lives. The two were eventually arrested.

While the tactic may seem bizarre, it's not exactly new. Officials say that the method has been used before, and that it's gotten similar results. Lt. Robert Wright of the Tustin Police Department said that the devices may also be planted in cars or warehouses. "We're using it in whatever crime we're seeing an uptick in in our city," said Wright.

Denise Taylor, who owns the pharmacy in question—Creative Compounding Pharmacy along Newport Avenue—told LAist that she couldn’t divulge information as to what the GPS devices look like, or how many bottles of cough syrup are fitted with them. She did confirm, however, that the bottles are not for sale. “You would never want to sell them with the device inside,” said Taylor.

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LAist called the Tustin Police Department but no one was immediately available for comment.

The abuse of cough syrup has been a pressing issue for health officials. According to a 2008 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, upwards of 3 million adolescents and young adults have used non-prescription cough and cold medicines to get high at least once in their lifetimes. These numbers are comparable to LSD use, and more than methamphetamine use, among people between the ages of 12 and 25.