State cites two people in synthetic-marijuana bust at Dollar Store Plus on Lima Drive

Two people were cited for trafficking in synthetic marijuana this month after search warrants were executed, according to a release from the state Public Protection Cabinet.

Investigators with the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) assisted Lexington police detectives on Jan. 16 with the execution of a search warrant at Dollar Store Plus (Deya Inc.) at 680 Lima Drive, Suite 170, in Lexington. The store has an ABC license.

Detectives had made two controlled buys of synthetic cannabinoids from the owner and an employee inside the store in December 2013 and January 2014.

During the search, more synthetic cannabinoids were found. The owner of Dollar Store Plus, Ahmad Abdul Jaber, was present and consented to a search of his home in Lexington, where a large quantity of synthetic cannabinoids was found. A Dollar Store Plus employee, Hassan Thabata, also consented to a search of his house in Lexington. More was recovered from that search.

The total amount of synthetic cannabinoids seized was 2,576 packets of various brands, weighing a total of 48.6 pounds, with a street value of $440,890, the release said.

ABC will charge Deya Inc. with disorderly premises. If found guilty, the business could face the suspension or revocation of its license by ABC.

Synthetic cannabinoids are listed as a controlled substance under state law. The substance imitates marijuana but is known to cause more hallucinogenic effects.

Manufacturers of synthetic cannabinoids apply a chemical combination to plant materials and then market them under the guise of incense, often labeled "not for human consumption."

"Retailers and street level dealers know that this product is being used by the consumers as an alternative to marijuana," said ABC Commissioner Fredrick Higdon. "The individual packets are labeled with names such as 'Joker,' 'Caution' and 'Scooby Snax.' One of the many dangers of synthetic drugs is that the manufacturer can put any sort of harmful chemicals they want in them. A consumer may never know what exactly it is they are inhaling or ingesting."