BROOKLYN — He wasn’t poisoned; he poisoned himself with K2.
That’s what a law enforcement source is telling PIX11 about Manuel Rivera, 19, one of the convicted killers of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz. Rivera was brought to the hospital over the weekend from his Brooklyn jail.
On Monday, his defense attorney, Toni Messina, was having a hard time getting answers about Rivera’s whereabouts.
She forwarded a statement from the legal division of the Department of Correction to PIX11: “The facility (BKDC) is not disclosing the location of your client, even to DOC Counsel’s office.”
A frenzy of speculation began Sunday afternoon when @_jake_fromstatefarm_ wrote on Instagram, “….Manuel is on his death bed in the hospital cause someone poisoned him as of yesterday…”
When PIX11 reached out to the Department of Correction, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Peter Thorne said, “We have looked into the allegation and this claim is false.”
By Sunday night, @_jake_fromstatefarm_ said Manuel was “doing good” and claimed Rivera was poisoned by a cracker given to him through his cell door.
Yet by Monday morning, a law enforcement source told PIX11 the drug K2 was the reason Rivera started hallucinating in jail.
“He bought a bad batch of K2,” the source told PIX11, citing a Correction Department contact. “He bought it and he smoked it and he had a bad reaction.”
K2 is another name for synthetic marijuana, which really isn’t marijuana at all.
Many of the chemicals sprayed on plant-like material to create the high are produced in China.
Smoking the stuff can spawn hallucinations, seizures, and other bad reactions that have led to brain damage and death.
PIX11 was one of the first stations to report on the K2 problem in New York City several years ago, which was a real issue among the poor, mentally ill and homeless, who were often having seizures in specific parts of the city.
A corner of Lexington Avenue between 124th and 125th streets in Harlem, where numerous ambulances were responding every day, was nicknamed “K2 Boulevard.”
Manuel Rivera was convicted with four other Trinitarios gang members of murder in the first degree back on June 14th for killing 15-year-old Guzman-Feliz in 2018.
The brutal stabbing of the boy known as “Junior,” who was a victim of mistaken identity, made international headlines after the murder was captured on many different camera angles.
Rivera is the youngest gang member convicted in the case.