OVERLAND, MO (KPLR) - An employee of an Overland food mart has admitted to selling synthetic marijuana behind the counter. He is now charged with Selling an Imitation Controlled Substance.
Woodson Grocery and Liquor sells typical snacks and refreshments, along with hard liquor, hookah, and other smoking paraphernalia. And if you ask, you might be able to buy “Joker,” a form of synthetic marijuana.
Overland Police Chief Mike Laws explains, “We had information from a confidential informant, early in the winter, that the sale was going on, so we did some undercover purchases on more than one occasion down there.”
A search warrant of the Woodson Road business, as well as 32 year-old Heminder Singh’s home, revealed several bags of synthetic marijuana.
Singh admitted to pocketing thousands of dollars from selling the substance. He was arrested in February, and is due in court on July 30th.
In the meantime, Laws says Singh is being investigated again, for continuing to sell the illegal substance.
News 11’s Rebecca Roberts walked into Woodson Grocery and Liquor, and found Singh working behind the counter. He said he doesn’t sell the synthetic marijuana anymore, but had no idea it was illegal.
Laws clarifies, “They’re illegal, no question, but some people for some reason believe that it’s ok. They say, well it’s synthetic, it’s not a real drug. But it really is.”
Even though they’re often packaged as harmless incense, these synthetic drugs can cause psychotic episodes, anxiety, even death, and law enforcement is taking notice. Within the past month, the DEA has brought down 28 synthetic drug sellers in the St. Louis area.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James Shroba says, “They’re all too willing to take risks on the health and welfare of our children with these substances. Within the past five years, the DEA has identified between 250 and 300 new designer drugs.”
Overland police say they're ramping up efforts to keep retailers like Singh out of business. “We’re aware of the fact that this is becoming more and more popular, so to speak, and we are actively looking for it,” says Laws.