By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
Five-thousand packages or containers of suspected bath salts and suspected synthetic marijuana, 186 oxycodone 30-milligram tablets, 85 oxycodone 15-milligram tablets, 76 Xanax pills, 84 Klonopin pills and more than $34,000 in cash was confiscated Thursday evening in a raid on Dark Wings Novelties Gift Shop in the Mid Town Mall at 8740 Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg.The search warrant was executed by both the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Portsmouth Police Department, in the store that is located near the former Greater Medical Advance, the last pain clinic in Scioto County recently closed by state and local authorities.
“We had reason to believe they were selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said. “While we were there talking to the owner, investigating the premises as to what contents were in there, we were somewhat bogged down by the continuation of customers, and approximately 50 or more were interviewed during this time period.”
Donini said they arrested the owner/operator of Dark Wings, Yvonda G. Nichols, 54, of 3223 Ky 1 in Greenup, Ky., and charged her with possession of drugs, a second-degree felony. Nichols was placed in the Scioto County Jail under a $500,000 cash bond.
Donini said Nichols is not charged with the bath salts or synthetic marijuana because the department is awaiting a lab test of those items to determine if, in fact, they are bath salts and synthetic marijuana.
“It’s going to be presented to the (Scioto County) grand jury once the testing is done on all these products,” Donini said. “Weight will have an effect on what she will actually be charged with.”
Donini said the confiscation netted the largest amount of bath salts since the passage of House Bill 64 in October. That bill outlawed the sale of the product referred to as “bath salts.”
“The term ‘bath salts’ means absolutely nothing,” Donini said. “It’s just a slang term that was given by those who started manufacturing it. Bath salts kind of mirrors the effects of the components found in cocaine or methamphetamines. Synthetic marijuana, also called ‘spice,’ is a separate item from the bath salts. It has derivatives or chemical substances included in that that have the same effect that the chemicals in marijuana would have.”
Donini, Capt. David Hall and Chief Deputy Todd Miller had covered a conference table with the items seized in the operation with multiple plastic bags containing the confiscated items.
“It was a very significant, very effective investigation,” Donini said. “I personally was surprised. I primarily conduct administrative tasks here at the office, and when I actually went up there with these guys, it was mind-boggling to see how much product she had.”
There was a box on the table with several other boxes inside with the label “Happy Hour,” which Donini said contains synthetic marijuana.
“We did a little math on this box. This box was shipped to her C.O.D. According to the label she paid about $7,700 for this. When we did the math, she sells it for $49,000, clearing about $42,000,” Donini said. “That’s a lot of cash. That explains why there was $34,000 on the premises.”
“There’s $40,000 profit on 1,250 doses,” Miller said. “And we’ve got $5,000.”
Donini took the opportunity to thank the Portsmouth Police Department for their involvement in executing the search warrant. He said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests may be warranted.
Donini said anyone wishing to leave drug information may contact the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit at 740-351-1094 or at email@example.com. He said all information will be kept confidential and anonymous.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.