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Florida store owner, manager arrested for allegedly selling drugs

Earlier this year, Florida outlawed synthetic drugs such as Methcathinone, a 'Schedule I' controlled substance. These synthetic drugs are often sold as bath salts. The Thrifty Food Mart in Okaloosa County was raided around the time the law was enacted, and authorities assert that the store was selling drugs at the store under the new law. No arrests were made at that time, but the store was served with a cease-and-desist order and furnished with information about Florida's controlled substance laws.

In June, a police informant allegedly purchased an illegal synthetic drug at the Thrifty Food Mart. This sale led to a second raid and subsequent arrest of the store manager and store co-owner. The Okaloosa County Multi Agency Drug Task Force claims that the store was selling products containing synthetic drugs such as AM-2201, Pyrrolidinovalerophenone and Pentedrone.

Further, the store is located about 500 feet from LifePoint Church. Florida law prohibits the sale of drugs within 1,000 feet of a church. A charge of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a church was added to the felony charges they were already facing.

The two men are scheduled to make their first court appearance on September 4. Fortunately for the two men, the American system of justice requires that they be deemed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The state of Florida will have to prove beyond a reasonable a doubt that these men were indeed selling drugs out of the store. That measure of proof is no easy standard, and the accused individuals will have every reasonable opportunity to challenge the evidence and testimony offered against them.

Source: Crestview News Bulletin, "Drug Task Force raids Thrifty Food Mart," July 31, 2012

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Ian F. Mann PA

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