Storekeeper charged with synthetic marijuana sales

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Photo submitted Items removed by police from Eureka Smokes included four baggies containing 43 three-gram containers and five one-gram containers of Sniper K-2; a black box containing a list of local teenagers' names; and the amounts they had charged, along with two one-and-a-half gram baggies labeled Baked Goods, and a one-gram container labeled Sniper 50 State Legal.

Eureka Springs police arrested Sydney Churchill, owner of Eureka Smokes, without incident on a bench warrant Friday morning, Feb. 3, for Delivery of a Controlled Substance.

The arrest followed an investigation which began on Dec. 22 when Det. Brad Handley was informed that the Eureka Smokes store in the Gaskins Switch strip mall was selling K-2 synthetic marijuana to teenagers in Eureka Springs.

Further suspicions were raised when Eureka Smokes called in a complaint about two teenaged boys trying to break into a padlocked storage closet behind the store. Dets. Handley and Thomas Achord responded and were told by the boys they weren't trying to break in, but that the owner didn't want them back there because that's where he kept the K-2 he sold to teenagers.

According to Handley's report, several purchases of the particular synthetic marijuana, which is illegal to sell in Arkansas, were made by confidential informants at the store during an extensive investigation.

Handley also reported that an upset parent had complained to Officer Bryan Jones that Eureka Smokes was selling Mad Hatter to his son, who would get "really messed up," and demanded the police stop it.

Further questioning of the son revealed that the store would sell to area teenagers on credit, around $30 for a 3-gram package, and later take payment.

Several more complaints were made to the ESPD during their investigation over the next couple of weeks.

On Jan. 30, Benton County Deputy, Cory Coggin, made a traffic stop on two teens who had in their possession a plastic container of synthetic marijuana which they said they bought at the "Eureka Smoke Shop."

On Feb. 1, Handley arranged for a confidential informant to buy at the shop, and three grams of the Sniper brand of K-2 was purchased. The buyer positively identified Churchill as the man who sold him the Sniper.

A search warrant was later issued and subsequently executed at the store. As Det. Handley walked in, he observed Churchill running out the back door with a trash bag, where he was met by Officer Brian Young and walked back into the store.

Discovered inside the trash bag were four baggies containing 43 three-gram containers and five one-gram containers of Sniper K-2.

Further search revealed a black box containing a list of local teenagers' names and the amounts they had charged, along with two one-and-a-half gram baggies labeled Baked Goods and a one-gram container labeled Sniper 50 State Legal.

While the search was being conducted, Churchill told Handley and Young that he did not know it was against the law to sell. Handley responded he found that hard to believe since he ran out the back door with it when he saw ESPD pull up.

All items were seized and logged into evidence. Churchill was free until an arrest warrant was issued, then taken to Carroll County for detention on Friday morning.

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  • This scoop was so good the citizen ran it twice.

    -- Posted by chimps on Thu, Feb 9, 2012, at 9:29 PM
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