Synthetic marijuana seized in warehouse raids
WEST CARROLLTON — One man was arrested Thursday after a police raid on a wholesale warehouse turned up what was believed to be synthetic marijuana products outlawed by state legislation passed last year.
The raid halted shipments to Dayton-area stores scheduled for the same day, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said at Moreb Wholesaler warehouse on South Alex Road.
“It’s a dangerous substance that these people were distributing to independent stores throughout our community,” Plummer said.
The owner of the business and his lawyer claim the products seized Thursday are not the specific chemical compounds outlawed by House Bill 64.
“The statute itself and the House bill lays out a specific chemical compound that they then place in schedule one drugs,” Attorney Jon Paul Rion said. “What was seized today was not that specific brand or that specific chemical compound.”
He said Moreb Wholesaler was selling these products in good faith with assurances from the manufacturers. “A whole host of people, from lawyers, to scientists to the businessmen themselves gave great assurances that these products were legal and that they could sell them openly,” Rion said.
During a four-month investigation, law enforcement officers bought the suspected synthetic marijuana from five locations — Butler Twp., Miamisburg, West Carrollton and two in Harrison Twp. — and determined that Moreb Wholesaler was an alleged distribution center, Plummer said.
He said the products bought from retailers were tested and determined to contain illegal compounds. The products seized from the Moreb warehouse will also be tested.
RANGE Task Force officers also confiscated pipes for smoking marijuana, digital scales disguised as cell phones and mini plastic sandwich bags from the warehouse.
Plummer said one container of synthetic marijuana, typically packaged in a plastic pill bottle, costs $10 to $20. He would not say what a container might weigh.
Plummer also would not say how much of the suspected substance was removed from the warehouse.
Wesam Moreb, 29, was booked into Montgomery County Jail and could face drug trafficking charges. Rion said he expected his client to be released Thursday evening and would meet with authorities Friday to discuss the investigation. Moreb and his employees contend there was no wrongdoing and look forward to presenting their case in court.
“I don’t do anything illegal and I can prove that (on) my life,” Moreb said as he was being escorted to a police cruiser. “I’m not doing anything illegal; accusing me for bad stuff and (I’m) not doing anything.”
Employees said they sell T-shirts, tobacco products and convenience store snacks.
“As soon as we opened, police had a search warrant and we cooperated and listened,” said Ammar Badwan, a warehouse employee. “They asked me about something called K2, but we don’t carry that.”
Employees said police arrived at approximately 8 a.m. and searched the premises for three to four hours. When HB 64 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in July 2011, synthetic marijuana — known as K2 or spice — was added to the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances.
Staff Writer Katie Wedell contributed to this story.By Kareem Elgazzar, Staff Writer
Updated 8:09 AM Friday, February 3, 2012