Police raid two shops
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Mar 28, 2013, 11:29
A new law changing the chemical definition of the illegal substance known as spice has prompted at least two stores in Colonial Heights to be raided by police.
More than 1,500 packets of the substance were taken from the Tobacco Zone, located on Pickwick Ave. Police say a large amount of money has been seized from the Valero on Boulevard in relation to the sale of spice.
Both stores could not be reached for comment.
“It’s been a problem for several months and has been an ongoing investigation,” said Sgt. Robert Ruxer with the Colonial Heights police.
Ruxer said that prior to the law change, police have been openly investigating the sale of spice in the area. The new law, which changed which chemicals were illegal, made it easier for the police to be able to obtain a search warrant and make the necessary raids.
The law was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell on March 20 and went into effect immediately. A ban on certain types of chemicals used in synthetic marijuana has been in place since 2011, but manufacturers have been able to get around the law by changing the types of chemicals they use.
“The new law made certain products illegal because of what they contained inside them and because of that, these stores are now selling these items that illegal,” Ruxer said.
Police visited numerous stores to investigate, but only the two locations were actually searched.
According to Ruxer, police had received a large number of complaints from the surrounding community about Tobacco Zone. Increased foot traffic around the store made neighboring businesses concerned, which led to the police increasing their patrols around the area of the store.
Colonial Heights recently held a public hearing to discuss with the community what exactly spice was. This led community members to be more aware of what was going on around them.
The Colonial Heights police urge community members to stay involved to help the police keep spice out or the area.
“If any citizen knows of any place selling these items, let us know so we can investigate to make sure they’re in compliance,” Ruxer said.
While the police have not yet made any charges against the two stores, the investigation is pending and police are on the watch to locate other places that are selling spice.
“We’re going to continue to monitor the different stores,” Ruxer said. “So far all other stores are in compliance with not selling these illegal products.”