- Local News
--By Staff Writer on --
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit confiscated 170 more bags of possible synthetic marijuana on Thursday as officers continued checking businesses that are still selling the substances.
Undercover officers went to the Save Money Food Mart at 3671 Hutchinson Road and were being sold some “spice” by the clerk, when they identified themselves as law enforcement. Officers found the synthetic marijuana hidden in several locations, including a storage cooler, a knit hat, and bags hidden behind boxes.
“Customers were coming in to the store to buy the synthetic marijuana while the officers were there,” said Sheriff Ted Paxton. “This leads us to believe that it’s being sold here on a regular basis.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, undercover officers had already confiscated 1,738 bags of the substances from three other Forsyth County businesses. The total number of bags confiscated this week is now up to 1,908.
Thursday was the first time officers have confiscated the substances from the Save Money Food Mart.
The synthetic marijuana is commonly known as spice, bath salts and K2. “Incidents throughout the country have already shown that the substances being sold are dangerous,” added Sheriff Paxton. “The primary customers of the synthetic marijuana are our high school and college-age young adults. We are going to do everything within our power to prevent the sale of these substances in our county.”
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office confiscated another 1,738 bags of synthetic marijuana from three different businesses on Tuesday and Wednesday, in a second sweep in less than 30 days of local establishments known for selling the substances.
According to Sheriff Ted Paxton, Puff and Stuff Smoke Shop at 410 Atlanta Hwy. in the city limits of Cumming had 880 bags confiscated, while King John Smoke Shop at 3280 Keith Bridge Rd. had 771 bags confiscated by the undercover narcotics investigators. On Wednesday, narcotics officers went to Heads Off Smoke Shop located at 2325 Atlanta Hwy. and confiscated 87 bags.
“This is the second time we have confiscated the suspected synthetic marijuana from all of these businesses,” said Sheriff Paxton. “As I said in June when the new rule was adopted giving us the ability to confiscate these substances, we are going to remain diligent in monitoring the distributors. We are going to keep going back to these businesses to insure they are following the law.
“Thanks goes out to the public for providing us with tips on some of the businesses that are not following the law. We urge any citizens who suspect that synthetic marijuana is still being sold, please contact us,” added Sheriff Paxton.
In addition to confiscating the substances, one person was arrested at the King John Smoke Shop on an outstanding warrant for the sale of Schedule 1 drugs. Javed (known as John) A. Panjwani, 32, was taken into custody for selling to undercover officers on March 28 at the Country Cupboard Shell Gas Station at 601 Dahlonega Hwy. Panjwani is listed as an owner of King John Smoke Shop and the Country Corner Shell. He remains incarcerated at the Forsyth County Detention Center with no bond. Panjwani was previously arrested by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in May and charged with commercial gambling at the Country Corner Shell and was out on bond on this charge when he was arrested this week.
During the agency’s first sweep on June 13, Narcotics investigators seized 1,939 bags with an estimated value of $28,000. During that sweep, five businesses were checked. Only one, The Smoke Shop on Hwy. 9, was complying with the new rule. Puff and Stuff Smoke Shop had 437 bags seized at that time, King John Smoke Shop had 1,073 bags and Heads Off Smoke Shop had 105.
Samples from the bags confiscated this week will be sent to the Ga. Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for testing.
In June, at the request of Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy (SBOP) adopted an emergency rule classifying newly discovered compounds of synthetic marijuana and giving Ga. P.O.S.T. certified officers the ability to enter any retail, wholesale, distributor or manufacturing facility to identify and seize drugs, compounds and articles identified in the emergency rule. Officers would be acting as agents of the SBOP and the Ga. Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA). The rule allows law enforcement to seize the new forms of the synthetic marijuana, but does not provide for an arrest.