Fourth person arrested in Port Lavaca convenience store bust as investigation continues
by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Jan. 11, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:11 p.m.
A fourth person was arrested in ongoing drug investigation of three convenience stores.
The stores were raided Tuesday morning and three were arrested then. The fourth person was arrested that afternoon.
The raid started when law enforcement officers arrived with search and arrest warrants at the Times Market, 312 Travis St.
The bust continued at the Times Market, 630 N. Virginia St., and the Get and Go, 1717 Half League St.
About 200 vials of bath salts and 200 shots of Kush, synthetic marijuana that sells for $40 a shot, along with more than $40,000 in cash were confiscated.
The owners of the Times Markets, Diem Ngoc Luong-Chau, 36, and her husband, Dina Than Chau, 46, were arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Diem Ngoc Luong-Chau was also charged with manual delivery of a controlled substance after she sold to undercover officers, Calhoun County Sheriff B.B. Browning said.
A clerk at the Get and Go, Arman Muradali-Manasiya, 19, was also arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
A clerk at the Times Market on Virginia St., Maria Del Refugio Lucio-Najera, 22, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
More arrests may be made, the sheriff said.
The charges for possession of bath salts and Kush with intent to distribute, depending on the amount of drugs, can go up to a first degree felony.
The punishment for conviction ranges from five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, said Calhoun County District Attorney Dan Heard.
The charges are more serious for distributing drugs near a school or park because these are known as "drug-free zones," Heard noted.
The Get and Go is across the street from Tilley Park and down the street from Calhoun High School and Travis Middle School. The Times Market on Virginia Street is in front of HJM Elementary School, Browning said.
The sheriff's deputies had worked with the Port Lavaca Police Department on the case for nearly a year, Browning said. The investigation involved undercover work, as well as assistance by Constable Billy Billings, representatives from the Attorney General's office and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.