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Florida shopkeeper charged with selling synthetic marijuana

On Sept. 20, police in Pinellas Park charged a 62-year-old man with selling synthetic cannabinoids to investigators. Law enforcement officials claim that after receiving complaints from citizens about shop employees selling the drug, they initiated an undercover sting to catch the man in the act. They further allege that the man sold the drug known as Spice to their agents multiple times. He was charged for being in possession of 237 packets of the drug, which was only recently made illegal in the state.

Analysts say that the recent charges were part of Pinellas Park's local war on drugs. The operation targets vendors who sell synthetic drugs that might cause psychotic side effects, and it comes on the heels of a December 2012 emergency law by the Florida Attorney General that prohibited 22 different kinds of synthetic drugs in the state.

The store owner was indicted on multiple charges for possessing controlled substances as well as multiple charges for selling controlled substances. After being detained, he paid $26,000 bond and secured his release. Police say that the man had already been given a written warning about selling the drugs and that numerous stores in the areas had previously been targeted with a police education effort about the fact that the substances were illegal.

Drug charges can ruin people's lives. Mandatory minimum sentences for these nonviolent crimes often lead to extensive incarcerations, and some prosecutors may exhibit biases against people who stand charged with drug offenses. In addition, accused individuals may be barred from gaining employment later, or their businesses could go under in their absences. Criminal law attorneys who can argue against charges or appeal sentences may be able to help these individuals protect their rights.

Source: TBNweekly.com, "Store owner arrested for synthetic drugs", September 22, 2013

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