Additional charges were released in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's Dec. 7 crackdown on the sale of brightly colored, youth-oriented packages of synthetic marijuana, commonly known as "K2" and "Spice."
According to Larry McKinnon, a sheriff's office spokesperson, about 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana were seized Dec. 7 as part of "Operation All Smoked Up." The designer drugs had an an estimated street value of more than $500,000, he added.
"They call it a synthetic marijuana," said Major Tom Feeney, with the office's special investigations unit. But "it's no different than cocaine, it's no different than heroin, it no different than PCP," he added. "If you ask me, after 33 years [in the business], with nearly 25 in drug enforcement, it's a designer drug."
What makes the sale of "K2" and "Spice" particularly aggregious is that it is marketed toward young people, said Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He pointed out packages in particular that bore the colorful depictions of cartoon characters Scooby-Doo and Bart Simpson.
At the sheriff's office on Falkenburg Road, boxes and bags of synthetic marijuana confiscated from four of the 12 stores targeted in "Operation All Smoked Up" were on display to illustrate the severity of the problem.
- See What Does 'K2' and 'Spice' Packaging Look Like?
Also released was a report detailing charges faced by store clerks and managers at six county stores. Additional charges and stores were noted in a subsequet sheriff's report, bringing the total to 11 stores accounted for, as noted below.
McKinnon said each individual faces two charges: one felony count of "Posession and Sell of Controlled Substance-Analog" and one felony count of "Maintaining a Store To Sell a Controlled Substance."
Here's a list of stores and charges released in the latest sheriff's office report. McKinnon said the investigation continues.
Fat Boy's, 601 South U.S. Highway 41, Ruskin
- Mohammad Abukhdeir, 32, 425 Stone Briar Drive
Gibsonton Food Mart, 10143 South U.S. Highway 41
- Mohiuddin Qureshi, 56, of 9011 Pinebreeze Drive, Riverview
Lithia Pinecrest Citgo, 4330 Lithia Pincrest Road, Valrico
- Kenaan Daaboul, 30, 2201 Godwall Court, Valrico
- Christina Stokes, 32, 11218 Russell Drive, Seffner
Snax Food, 6504 North Himes Ave., Tampa
- Jamalutfi Al-Shalabi, 47, 1519 Yardly Drive, Wesley Chapel
Nebraska Citgo, 11710 North Nebraska Ave., Tampa
- Philip Thomas, 53, 2405 Tea Olive Terrace, Tampa
The charges above are in addition to the ones noted in the report released at the Dec. 7 press conference, as noted below:
Country Food Mart, 12020 East Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Seffner (at the southwest corner of Pine Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
- Heather Hernandez, 22, 1907 Lake Chapman Drive
Bloombox Smoke Shop, 873 West Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon (at the southwest corner of Kings Avenue and Bloomingdale Avenue)
- Darrian Bilger, 18, faces charges of controlled substance analog and maintaining a store to sell a controlled substance.
Joy Food Mart, 10810 South U.S. Highway 41, Gibsonton (at the southeast corner of Nundy and U.S. Highway 41)
- Subal Banik, 43, 4014 West Waters, Tampa
- Abdul Mannan, 57, 5503 William Grant Way, Tampa
- Sagar Saha, 43, 2424 Cedarcrest Place, Valrico
Radiant, 13430 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa (at the southwest corner of Fletcher Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard)
- Claire McCarthy, 35, 17843 Tropical Cove Drive
- Moataz Darwish, 35, 13512 Lake Magdalene Drive, Tampa
- Saleh Elshabrawy, 32, Crystal Palm Court, Tampa
Shell Food Mart, 2819 East State Road 60, Valrico (next to Bradford Lodge)
- Prollard Roy, 30, 1127 Emerald Hill Way, Valrico
- Muhammed Matin, 46, faces charges of controlled substance analog and maintaining a store to sell a controlled substance.
Quick Mart, 10051 Sheldon Road, Tampa
- Minhaz Lalani, 48, 15613 Shoal Creek Place, Odessa
- "Sammy" (unknown), faces charges of controlled substance analog and maintaining a store to sell a controlled substance.