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Two local markets busted for selling synthetic drugs, other offences
Jul 18, 2012 12:00 am
Despite the new laws in place outlawing synthetic drugs and countless news reports about people going berserk after taking them, some stores refuse to give up the lucrative trade.
Two stores in Lebanon seem to fit that description. Friday, July 13, the Lebanon Police Department Narcotics Unit executed two search warrants on local retailers — Chums Market, located at 622 North Cumberland St., and the One Stop Market, located at 725 E. Main St.
Police had earlier purchased synthetic drugs from both locations. Illegal synthetic drugs, as well as other paraphernalia, were found at both locations when LPD officers executed the search warrants.
Also found during the search of a safe at the One Stop Market was a loaded, Hi Point .45 caliber handgun and various caliber ammunition. Information was provided that the One Stop Market may have also been buying ammunition from customers. The One Stop Market was also found to have multiple fire and codes violations.
In all, synthetic drugs, a multitude of paraphernalia items, the handgun with ammunition and several thousands of dollars were seized.
Charges are pending for individuals from both retailers. Evidence will be submitted to a future session of the Wilson County Grand Jury.
LPD Chief Scott Bowen is no stranger to the synthetic drug business, and his department was in the forefront of the push to get harsher laws in place to combat the trade.
"Now, it's a different situation," he said. "It's a felony."
He noted that the stores in question also face other penalities.
"By city ordinance we can take their beer permits," Bowen said. "They can be revoked if they are found to be detrimental to health, safety and welfare of the community."
Considering the stiffer sentences and penalities the store owners face under the new laws banning synthetic drugs, why do they risk it?
"Greed. The prices went up since the ban came out. It stared at $10 a pack and now it's $30 a pack," he said, adding that a law enforcement official had told him that a store owner had been busted with a case of synthetic drugs and that he had proof the dealers had made $169,000 from it.
"These people are making hundreds of thousands," Bowen said.
He hopes that considering the multiple stories about the dangers of synthetic drugs customers will change some of their shopping habits.
"You hope if people see this, they will choose to do business at a legitimate, but that's up to people," he noted.
Give the dangers of these products, Bowen sees no difference between these relatively new drugs and and the traditional illegal ones.
"They might as well be selling cocaine out the front door," he concluded.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org