Talk of a zombie apocalypse may just be a pop culture spin on an otherwise very real danger: the increase in use of street drugs causing violent -- almost beast-like -- behavior.
Just two weeks after the infamous face-eating attack on the MacArthur Causeway, a Miami man believed under the influence of "Cloud 9" -- a substance police indicated is a form of bath salts -- reportedly growled at arresting officers, yelled "I'm going to eat you," and tried to bite them.
North Miami Beach Police witnessed Brandon De Leon, a 21-year-old homeless man, having a verbal argument with another man at a local Boston Market on Saturday. Their altercation blocked the restaurant entrance so that no patrons could enter or leave, according to the arrest report.
At one point De Leon looked over at the officers and yelled "F*ck you!" with his middle finger out. Officers arrested De Leon for disorderly conduct. While in the patrol car, he repeated banged his head against the Plexiglas and yelled "I'm going to eat you."
At the station, De Leon tried to bite the officer taking his blood pressure, and police note that he also "growled and opened and closed his jaw slamming his teeth like an animal would."
De Leon continued to bark, growl, and smash his head once inside the cell, prompting officers to wonder if he was under "some type of dangerous narcotic" that made him behave in such a "very bizarre and strange" manner, as noted on the report. He was put in leg restraints and a bite mask.
Police said De Leon, who was in possession of rum and Four Loko when arrested, was discovered to be under the influence of "Cloud 9." His blood test also revealed levels of cannabis, alcohol, and Xanax.
"I have no recollection of anything that happened that night," De Leon told a judge at his bond hearing on Monday, where bail was set at $7,500 on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest with violence.
In an officer safety email, officer Jose Assael stated that "It was later discovered De Leon had taken a synthetic drug named Cloud 9. This bears resemblance to the incident that occurred in the City of Miami last week when a male ate another man's face. Please be careful when dealing with our homeless population during your patrols."
A Jackson Memorial Hospital emergency room doctor suspected Rudy Eugene was under the influence of bath salts when he ate the face off homeless victim Ronald Poppo on May 26.
UPDATE: Thomas A. Carney, North Miami Beach Police's Director of Police Services, issued a release on the street drug known as "Cloud 9":
Cloud 9 (Mephedrone) is a:
--Psychoactive drug that produces distinctive emotional and social effects, similar to those of Ecstasy (MDMA).
--Amphetamine and cathinone class drug that has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system that can be physically and psychologically addictive
--A synthetic substance based on the (cathinone) compounds that exist in the Khat plant of East Africa.
Users may swallow, snort or inject mephedrone. It can come in the form of tablets, capsules or white powder. Snorting is the most common way of taking the drug, and injection the rarest.
Symptoms can include, excessive sweating, headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, severe panic attacks, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, agitation and erratic behavior.
Police asked residents to avoid contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms and contact police immediately.