April 3, 2009 |
When narcotics officers raided his Nicetown bodega, store owner Juan Martinez says they were looking for more than drugs. They helped themselves to Red Bull, Mountain Dew, crackers, cigarettes, and $24,000 that he said was stolen during the February 2007 raid of his store, Gratz Mini Mart. Martinez and his deli worker were both arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy. In the store, according to police arrest records, the officers found tiny plastic zippered bags often used to package crack cocaine for individual sale.
March 20, 2009 |
In the city's toughest neighborhoods, narcotics officers routinely bust mini-marts and bodegas for selling tiny ziplock plastic bags. Police consider the bags to be drug paraphernalia. But many store owners say they bought the bags legally from tobacco wholesalers and other distributors and thought they could sell them. At issue is whether the buyer is using the bags for drugs or for legitimate items like coins, jewelry, stamps and small amounts of tobacco. "The question is whether the item is for a legal function or an illegal function," said Tennessee-based lawyer Robert T. Vaughn, an expert on drug-paraphernalia laws.
September 16, 2005 |
A Frankford check-cashing business that also allegedly sold colorful glass marijuana bongs, multicolored plastic bags, and sophisticated electronic scales was raided, police announced yesterday. "Clearly, this isn't just a convenience store for junkies," said Philadelphia Narcotics Chief Inspector Keith Sadler. "This is a superstore for drug dealers. " Police descended Wednesday on the check-cashing operation, Pratt Services Checks Cashing at 1532-34 Pratt St., and hauled off about $366,000 worth of paraphernalia and bundles of cash totaling $334,000, Sadler said.
February 8, 2002 |
Four people were found dead in a suburban Winslow Township home last night in what authorities said might be drug-related killings. A township police detective found the two men and two women, all about 30 years old, about 6 p.m. in the 100 block of Stevens Avenue, near Winslow Township High School, Camden County Prosecutor Lee A. Solomon said. "This is a multiple homicide. It's a horrible scene," he told reporters. "We are not ruling out any possibilities. " Solomon said that drug paraphernalia had been found in the house, and that drugs might be a possible motive.
July 29, 1999 |
A Main Line shop specializing in drug paraphernalia was shut down permanently and the owner sent to prison yesterday, the result of two days of police surveillance last winter. Leslie Mark Joblin of Wynnewood, owner of Critters on Lancaster Avenue in Rosemont, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to six to 12 months in prison and two years probation. He was charged with selling pipes, rolling paper, urine-purifier kits and bongs - water pipes often used for smoking marijuana - in violation of the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The Critters trademark logo now belongs to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
February 11, 1999 |
Continuing his crusade to rid Bucks County of so-called "head shops," District Attorney Alan Rubenstein announced last night that Bucks County detectives and local police had raided three such stores in New Hope and Falls Township yesterday, seizing $50,000 in merchandise and more than $1,000 in cash. They also arrested the stores' owners. Lynn Greene, of the Now & Then Shop on East Bridge Street in New Hope; Max Blank, owner of Back in Blue on South Main Street, in New Hope; and Faye Chichilitti, owner of High Senses on Trenton Road in Fallsington, were charged with the sale of drug paraphernalia and released on their own recognizance last night.
February 20, 1998 |
Bolstering the case against a New Hope shop owner, a Bucks County judge has decided that suspected drug paraphernalia seized during an August raid can be used as evidence during trial. After reviewing the events leading to the raid of Superkind Imports, Judge Ward F. Clark ruled Wednesday that the warrant to search the store was issued with sufficient probable cause. Timothy Duffy, whose shop was one of six targeted in a sweep, had contended otherwise and sought to suppress the evidence against him. On the day of the sweep, authorities learned of suspected paraphernalia in Duffy's store through Max Blank, owner of the Back in Blue shop, one flight below Superkind at 115 S. Main St. When police raided Blank's shop, he complained of selective enforcement.
January 19, 1998 |
Two of the six shop owners arrested in September as part of a countywide clampdown on the sale of drug paraphernalia entered guilty pleas in Bucks County Court last week and were ordered to pay fines of $1,000 each. The others are scheduled for trial later this month. The shopkeepers lost as much as $60,000 worth of merchandise in the September sweep, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Gary Gambardella, but the fines "just put an exclamation point on it. Clearly the message was sent.
November 14, 1997 |
The detective told a clerk his "pot" was clogging the bowl in his bong. Later, pointing to a gas mask used to inhale marijuana, he explained: "I want to melt my brain. " Finally, after buying a white T-shirt with a marijuana leaf printed on it, Montgomery County Detective David A. Evans left Frontiers, a Pottstown retailer. Wednesday, he dropped the act. Yesterday, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office announced that Matthew J. Hansley, 26, of Skippack, the owner of Frontiers stores in Pottstown and Norristown, had been arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia, and criminal conspiracy, all misdemeanors carrying penalties of six months to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
November 8, 1997 |
Five Bucks County shop owners will stand trial for allegedly distributing an array of suspected drug paraphernalia in their stores, although one lawyer contended that the items could easily be found at any local grocery store. District Justice Robert A. Schnell, sitting in Doylestown, yesterday bound the following store owners over for trial: Robert Clegg, 44, of the Warrington Tobacco Shop; John G. Tripodi of the Ink Well, in Upper Southampton; Max Blank of Back in Blue, in New Hope; Timothy Duffy of Superkind, in New Hope; and Faye G. Chichilitti of High Senses, in Falls.