By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
LAWRENCE COUNTY — Two store workers were arrested in South Point yesterday after Lawrence County law enforcement served warrants at their business for selling illegal synthetic drugs.
According to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, their office and the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crime Task Force executed a search warrant at 11 a.m. Thursday at Counter Culture, at 220 Township Road, 1013 Suite 7, in South Point. The warrant was given after a lengthy investigation into the sale of synthetic marijuana and other analog compounds.
On Oct. 17, 2011, Ohio legislators enacted House Bill 64, which made it illegal to possess or sell synthetic and analog compounds associated with drugs. Just two weeks later, on Nov. 1, 2011, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Task Force removed about $20,000 of items from Counter Culture.
“We went into the business (in November) and some of this product was up on the counter, at which time we seized them. As we looked around, we found more stuff stashed in storage bins under the counter. At that point we take it all and gave a receipt. No arrests were made because we were not sure if this product contained what Ohio made illegal,” said Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless.
Samples from the November search were sent to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification for analysis, and were found to contain illegal synthetic and analog compounds. From that, an arrest warrant was approved and was served Thursday on the store owner, Robert Holley, 45, of Rush, Ky., on charges of trafficking in drugs.
Also arrested was store clerk Joshua Tackett, 32, of Olive Hill, Ky.
“He was arrested because during the execution of our search warrant, he went to a back room and tried to hide some evidence. So he was charged with tampering with evidence. Had he not done that, he wouldn’t have been arrested,” Lawless said.
Both Holley and Tackett were taken to the Lawrence County Jail.
Lawless said the search seized 2,791 items — including, among others, 99 cans of White Spice, 184 bottles of Wicked X, 81 bottles of Zombie Matter, and 44 packets of Mellow Fellow. Lawless said the list of items is 2 ½ pages long.
They will all be sent to BCI&I for further testing.
“These synthetic drugs are very dangerous to the user causing them to lose control of their senses, this in turn puts the rest of society in danger,” Lawless said. “We certainly do not want someone driving on our roadways or around our children that are high on these drugs. This is just part of our ongoing effort to rid our communities of drugs.”
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.