EDGEWOOD, Md. - Two Harford County businesses were raided by drug enforcement police and charges are pending for the owners after investigators say they were selling synthetic marijuana and other drug paraphernalia to kids and adults.
Harford County officials have begun cracking down on the sale of “Spice,” a synthetic drug that was outlawed in Maryland in October 2013.
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Members of the Harford County Task Force executed a search and seizure warrant on the two convenience stores – located across from one another – on June 11, 2014. Authorities seized a combined $18,578 worth of drugs, paraphernalia and cash from the Edgewood businesses.
“We remain committed to targeting these businesses in an attempt to remove the availability of such a dangerous product from the young population of Harford County who are continuing to use these items thinking they are safe,” Capt. Lee Dunbar, commander of the task force, said in a release. “ The Harford County Task Force utilizes all the resources it can to protect the citizens of this county and would like to thank the United States Department of Agriculture for their assistance with these cases and future investigations”
Authorities began investigating the two businesses in March 2014, after receiving a number of tips about the sale of the outlawed drug. Undercover officers bought “Spice” from both stores, according to the release.
The two businesses were identified as Mystik Mart and Royal Lands, both located in the 1700 block of Hanson Road.
The owner of Royal Lands, according to officials, was also accused of accepting food stamps (EBT) for the drug and using the program as an “ATM with a 100% surcharge.”
The task force estimated the Royal Lands netted about $169,000 from the fraudulent transactions, making the owner of the shop about $99,000.
Officials say at Mystik Mart, the raid yielded 20 grams of Spice that were hidden behind the counter.
Agents also reportedly seized 60 marijuana smoking pipes, pipe screens, 13 marijuana grinders, about 40 glass pen cases that are used for smoking crack, copper crack pipe filter pads and 20 digital scales used for weighing drugs. All told, the street value of the items seized totaled about $2,255. An additional $5,924 in cash was also seized from Mystik Mart, according to the release.
The take was a little bit higher at Royal Lands.
Authorities say they seized 148 grams of “Spice” that were also hidden behind the counter and a host of other drug use paraphernalia, including items used in dealing drugs that altogether totaled $5,340. Agents also seized $5,059 in cash.
“Felony charges related to the possession with intent to distribute, the distribution of synthetic marijuana, possessing CDS paraphernalia with the intent to distribute and maintaining a common nuisance are pending, in both cases, against several store clerks and the ownership,” according to the release. “Additional theft and fraud charges are also being pursued against the owner of the Royal Lands store and the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Nutrition Service Investigative Branch is also seeking to permanently suspend benefit program privileges for the business.”