By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter
SURGOINSVILLE (WATE) - Hawkins County deputies arrested a man they say was on a synthetic drug called "gravel" and pretending to be a chicken on Monday evening.
The incident happened around 5 p.m. on the 160 block of Fields Gap Road. Investigators say this was a first in more ways than one because they say they were dealing with a new synthetic drug.
Daniel Peoples was taken into custody after authorities say he was wandering around on someone's property pretending to be a chicken. He says he wanted to scare away imaginary people in the yard.
"He was acting very strange, foaming at the mouth, and seeing things. So when officers arrived, he was imagining people around him, and he was acting like a chicken in order to scare these imaginary people away," said Sheriff Ronnie Lawson.
Peoples insisted his name was "Don Juan" and told deputies he thought he was in Lexington, Kentucky. He asked officials to take him to Hawkins County.
Peoples also told deputies he had been using the drug "gravel" that day, which is a drug similar to bath salts, an illegal substance.
Sheriff Lawson says this is the first time Hawkins County deputies have had to deal with problems stemming from "gravel."
"It causes more paranoia and it's even been tested and it has ammonia nitrate in it which is highly flammable," added Sheriff Lawson.
Peoples was taken to the hospital and then to jail. He is only facing a public intoxication charge because he didn't have any illegal substances on him at the time.
Sheriff Lawson says no one was hurt during this run-in, but what's worrisome is that this dangerous drug could be starting to sweep through the county.
"Well, we're concerned about it and officers are on the look out for it because you never know what people are going to do on it," he said.
In regards to this arrest, both Sullivan County and Kingsport law enforcement have been alerted for potential "gravel" dealers in the area.
There are strict rules in the state of Tennessee when it comes to synthetic drugs or bath salts. It's now a felony to possess or distribute the drug and offenders could face up to 12 years behind bars.
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