Hopewell Police busting smoke shops for Spice - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Hopewell Police busting smoke shops for Spice

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HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) -

Hopewell police detectives are in the middle of a major drug investigation, busting stores selling Spice - a type of synthetic drug much like marijuana.

Two Hopewell stores were caught selling the drug - the Cigarette City on Cavalier Square and Golden Express on South 15th Avenue.

Five store owners and managers were arrested:

James Petery, age 69 of Prince George County

Gayla Petery age 63 of Prince George County

Sohail Panjwani, age 42 of Richmond

Imran Panjwani, age 30 of Richmond

Sulaiman Panjwani, age 40 of Richmond

The packaging resembles incense, that's how it's sold but it's smoked like marijuana in pipes or rolled in paper.

"It's similar affects as marijuana much worse due to the chemical components," said Sgt. Donnie Reid of Hopewell Police.

The chemical components in Spice sold in these two stores came back as a positive match, the ingredients used is on a banned substance list.

The problem is, once a substance is banned authorities say the makers come out with another similar product - and detectives are constantly trying to keep up with the latest type.

"Teenagers, this is their easy way to get their hands on drugs they're going into the stores buying it and it's killing people...the big picture is to get it removed from Hopewell we don't want it sold here and hopefully other jurisdictions will follow suit and take the same steps that we're taking," said Reid.

For now, it's business as usual and one customer we talked to says - he's worried about the type of people this will attract.

"It makes me feel uneasy, it was made illegal for a reason," said Nicholas Basile.

Detectives in Hopewell are still working on this investigation and would like to hear from you if you have any information.

Call Crime Solvers at 541-2202, you don't have to give your name.

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