The owner of a Pulaski County store was indicted Wednesday by the Roanoke Grand Jury on a Class 6 felony for violating the code to possess, give, sell, gift, or possess with the intent to sell, give or distribute synthetic cannabinoids (marijuana).
In addition to the felony change, Mohamad Abdo, 56, of Christiansburg, was indicted on 15 misdemeanor charges related to possession of drug paraphernalia.
The indictments stem from a December 2011 compliant received by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) that the Tobacco Hut, on Peppers Ferry Road in Fairlawn, was selling tobacco and synthetic marijuana to minors. ABC special agents observed the Pulaski County business and under consent seized 701 packages of synthetic marijuana and 263 items that were considered drug paraphernalia.
The packages consisted of 41 different types of synthetic marijuana. Each type was sent to the Virginia Forensics Lab in Roanoke for analysis. One type, selling as Magic Red Extra, showed the illegal chemical compounds indicated in section COV 18.2-248.1:1.
Synthtic marijuana became illegal on March 1, 2011 when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) deemed it to be an imminent hazard to public safety and issued an order placing five synthetic cannabinoids into the Controlled Substances Act. In July the law was expanded to include additional compounds.
In the past year, ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement has conducted numerous seizures and filed charges related to possession of synthetic marijuana.
Abdo was released on $5,000 bond. The hearing and sentencing are forthcoming.
Efforts by ABC Agents Result in Felony Drug Indictment