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Crocodile Hunters Can't Find Frightening Flesh-Eating Drug

Despite wide-ranging undercover investigations, drug agents have yet to find any sign of crocodile in the Chicago area and beyond.

Amber displays the rank, gaping wound on her calf. Credit: Joseph Hosey
Amber displays the rank, gaping wound on her calf. Credit: Joseph Hosey
More than two weeks after a Joliet doctor made shocking claims about addicts showing up at his hospital with rank, gaping wounds caused by a flesh-eating fake heroin, the law has yet to locate any of the supposed terror drug.

"I have 25 agents on the streets running down virtually any kind of lead," said Jack Riley, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency's Chicago Division.

And that's just in the Chicago area. Riley said hundreds more agents are searching for the mystery drug "crocodile" in the five states he is responsible for: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. The drug has not been found in any of those states, Riley said.

Riley also confirmed a report from an an undercover narcotics agent that a dealer on Chicago's West Side was linked to at least one of the Joliet crocodile patients. Agents obtained product in five drug buys from the dealer and submitted it for testing, said the agent, who asked not to be identified.

Three samples were sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab and two to the DEA, said the agent. None of the five samples showed any trace of the ingredients needed to create crocodile, both the agent and Riley said.

The same agent said that a patient diagnosed by a Centegra Health System doctor as likely suffering from the effects of crocodile actually had MRSA.

"I heard that too," Riley said.

Centegra Senior Public Relations Coordinator Michelle Green said on Friday she was not aware of the new diagnosis but would look into it.

The narcotics agent said the Centegra patient developed MRSA from shooting heroin with dirty needles.

According to the Mayo Clinic's website, a MRSA "infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections."

An infection can start as a small, red bump and "quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining," the site said. "Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also burrow deep into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs."

Earlier this month, Presence St. Joseph Medical Center Dr. Abhin Singla announced he was treating the first known crocodile cases in Illinois.

“It is a horrific way to get sick," Singla said in an Oct. 8 press release issued by the hospital. "The smell of rotten flesh permeates the room.  Intensive treatment and skin grafts are required, but they often are not enough to save limbs or lives.”

Singla later said there is actually no test to determine whether or not the patients had ingested crocodile, and that none of the five patients he treated were in possession of the drug. He said he based his diagnosis on the distinct "green scaly appearance on the top layer of (skin) tissue."

While they have yet to discover any crocodile, Riley said his agents are going to continue their intense efforts to locate it.

Riley also pointed out that an absence of crocodile doesn't make heroin use safer, and that the drugs sold on the street are not exactly FDA approved.

"There's a perception out there that there's a bunch of guys in white jackets in a sterile lab putting this together," he said. "And that couldn't be further from the truth."

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Herc October 26, 2013 at 09:48 PM
@anonymous Didn't you hear Harry Reid the other day, everyone wants to pay more taxes? We have Quinn spouting off about raising taxes. I don't know where they think all this money is coming from. Economy is in a shit hole and they want to raise taxes! State income tax went up 67% just temporary tho, want to bet that becomes permanent. Theres so much corruption in this country everyone has their hands in the till. Were sunk as a nation!
anonymous October 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM
@Herc- I will bet you $ that Quinn will get back in after he makes all kinds of backroom promises to the unions and corporations and then will jack taxes up again to pay for all of these govt employee slobs. The 2 party system sucks but the Repubs will blow it again unless their candidate has his own $ and will run on his own conservative platform- guns, no gay marriage and tax cuts.
Steve October 27, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Anonymous u tell me to grow up? U implied that I visit a gay bar in joilet so look in the mirror I'm just sick of having u bitch a bout everything without any proof to back up ur rants lets see when I took shorewoods pd test yrs ago starting pay was 47k so 80? Maybe a lt or above all u do is bash cops so here is an idea next time u need help don't call 911 lemme know how it wrks out
John Roberts October 27, 2013 at 10:32 AM
You want to find it? Keep making heroin busts and we will see plenty of it because chances are your cops and your not going to find it at least not yet. These reports came out nation wide.thoes who have it.a quarter of them probably flushed it,half of thoes people probably moved,and the other half that have it are too scared to let it go right now...but just like Marijuana when ya went after that K2 came out natural gone chemical here,same as Krokodil make heroin hard to get and people will seek out the substitute...Or understand that people will always get (High) and know that consequences for seeking out natural substance drugs creates a market of even more dangerous chemical drugs....Or not and lets see where guns,swat teams,killings, gets us..40years of it already has caused Krokodil to come alive,K2 and other things that have not been invented yet but will by someone that needs a (fix).
Heather Houck October 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Yes, healthcare providers are required to report incidences of some diseases for public safety. The HIPPA violation comes into question when the agent then reports this to the public without confirmation of diagnosis. MRSA isn't a "likely" diagnosis, either it is or it isn't. If he doesn't have verified facts he should not be discussing this with the reporters. Also I find it hard to believe a physician or healthcare system would report a possible diagnosis which makes me suspicious that the agent is speculating based on the physicians differential diagnosis.

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