Wednesday, September 17, 2014




13 may be re-indicted in synthetic marijuana case

By Jessica Priest
Oct. 2, 2012 at 5:02 a.m.
Updated Oct. 3, 2012 at 5:03 a.m.


INDICTMENTS

Those indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance greater than or equal to 400 grams and manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance between 4 and 400 grams in August:

• Owen Shea Townsend, 21, of Victoria

• Christopher Thomas Salinas, 24, of Victoria

• Cheryl Dykes, 50, of Victoria

• Matthew Aguirre, 26, of Victoria

• Juan Carlos Reyes, 19, of Victoria

• Dennis Earl Shook, 52, of Yoakum

• Ronni Deneen Garrett, 20, of Victoria

• Donna Bryant Shook, 47, of Victoria

• Ramzan Ali Lakhani, 34, of Victoria

Those indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance of greater than or equal to 400 grams and manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance greater than or equal to 400 grams in August:

• Khairunissa Wazirali Lakhani, 32, of Victoria

• Sheri Patton, 43, of Victoria

• Samshudin Jalaludd Dawoodani, 32, of Sugar Land

Those indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance between 4 and 400 grams and manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance of greater than or equal to 1 gram in a drug free zone in August:

• Maria Garza, 22, of Victoria

Punishment levels:

• Engaging in organized criminal activity is a first-degree felony punishable by life or up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine could be assessed.

• Manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance in penalty group 2 of greater than or equal to 400 grams is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 could be assessed.

• Manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance in penalty group 2 between 4 and 400 grams is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 could be assessed.

Victoria District Attorney Stephen Tyler anticipates bringing 13 people he says sold controlled substances, such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana, before a grand jury again next month.

They were originally indicted in August, but now Tyler said he must clean up some of the language in the documents, as well as get some lab results back before proceeding.

Some of the defendants were arrested on April 9 after the Victoria County Sheriff's Office raided novelty businesses - Smoke N Rock, 6412 N. Navarro St.; Needful Things, 3608 N. Laurent St.; Cracker Barrel, 112 Sam Houston Drive; and the two locations of D&D Novelties at 1706 Houston Highway and 9501 N. Navarro St.

This came after a deputy purchased a package of "Head Spin," "Sexy Zombie" and "Amsterdam Attic Select" from Smoke-N-Rock on Feb. 8.

"Head Spin," the state alleges, contained an illegal chemical based upon a Feb. 16 test.

The deputy returned April 4 and bought another package of "Head Spin," so a search warrant was issued April 7.

Co-defendant Samshudin Jalaludd Dawoodani, 32, of Sugar Land, said police "merely assumed the (April 4 "Head Spin") package contained an illegal substance" in his motion to suppress filed in the 377th Judicial District Court on Aug. 29.

"The search warrant was stale," his attorney Keith Weiser said Tuesday. "You have to have a search warrant within a reasonable time of purchase. Sixty days is woefully unreasonable."

Weiser also said using the word "bong" in the arrest affidavit may have swayed the magistrate.

He said there's no legal definition of bong, which is sometimes described as a water pipe, and he likened it to going to buying a spoon intended to use for eating pudding but instead using it to cook cocaine.

"You only determine the illegality of what they do with it later," Weiser said. "They're not going to arrest a clerk at H-E-B for selling someone that spoon, are they?"

Tyler said police got the search warrant back in three days, which is not unusual.

"They ('Head Spin') were commercially sold in a marked and sealed container, so unless the manufacturer changed the formula, the officer relied upon it being the same substance," he said.

He said officers may use jargon and cliches in an affidavit, so long as it communicates probable cause.

A judge has not ruled on the matter yet.

Texas outlawed certain synthetic cannabinoids on Sept. 9, 2011 after Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 331.

Supporters of the measure said one product called "K2" caused hallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, chest pains, black outs, tremors, seizures and heart attacks.

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