Rochester, Gates, Greece, N.Y. --- This week members the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team raided a number of smoke shops across the state and at least five in Monroe County.
The owners of three of those five stores were issued tickets accusing them of violating state public health law by selling synthetic marijuana products.
In all nearly 1,000 packets of that product were seized by authorities. The raids were triggered by tips from the community according to police. They came after months of investigation and numerous undercover purchases.
Last year the New York State Department of Health Commissioner issued an order that banned the possession and sale of a number of synthetic cannabinoids. While State Police still have to test the substances seized they believe the stores can no longer plead ignorance to the law.
"Absolutely these stores were informed and in several cases we actually found the commissioner's letter at the store informing them that they were not to sell these banned substances," said State Police Lt. Martin McKee.
Yet the owner of one of the shops raided tells 13WHAM News that the manufacturer he bought the product from assured him that it was legal and met New York State standards. Russell Landon of Illusions Smoke Shop maintains his innocence.
Yet authorities believe these shop owners know the product their buying and selling. Lt. McKee said often these products are bought for $5 but resold to customers for $25 to $50.
"There's a substantial mark up and quite a profit to be made on these things,” said Lt. McKee.
Lt. McKee said a positive sign during this investigation is that a number of undercover purchase attempts ended with clerks or store owners telling undercover officers that they could not sell them a product because it was against the law.
Below are the shops raided, the owners charged, and the amount of product seized.
Dewey Avenue Smoke Shop
1405 Dewey Avenue, Rochester, N.Y. 14613
Packages total 400 = Orgazmo - 50, Neutruonium - 41, Posh 62, Voodoo 247.
Appearance issued to: Brooklyn M. Boise, 43, 78 Maida Dr. Spencerport, NY 14559 for Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids in violation of section 229 of the N.Y.S. Public Health law. City of Rochester Court.
Illusions Smoke Shop
2854 Dewey Ave., Greece, N.Y. 14616
Packages total 92 = Cherry Sonic 4, Blue Berry Sonic 9, Posh 41, Orgazmo 26, Neutronium 12.
Appearance issued to: Russell P. Landon, 31, 2 Kintz St. Rochester, NY 14612 for Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids in violation of section 229 of the N.Y.S. Public Health law and unlawful possession of Marihuana, section 221.05 of the NYS Penal law. Town of Greece Court.
Dazed and Confused Tobacco
1308 Buffalo Rd., Gates, N.Y. 14624
Packages total 392 = Posh 285, Orgazmo 105, Bizzaro 2.
Appearance issued to: Owner Jasen M. Kendrot 32, 612 Elmgrove Rd. Rochester, NY 14606 for Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids in violation of section 229 of the N.Y.S. Public Health law. Town of Gates Court.
Elab Smokers Boutique
719 Monroe Ave., Rochester, N.Y. 14607
Packages total 5 = Posh 1, Cherry Blast 2, Blue Jay 2.
Another Elab Smokers Boutique at 4373 Lake Avenue, Rochester, NY was also searched according to State Police. No information on whether anything was seized was available and no tickets were issued at either Elab Smokers Boutique location.