HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Business Busted
Pubdate: Tue, 05 Dec 2006
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Erica Bajer


Police Seize $23,000 Worth Of Drug Paraphernalia

Chatham-Kent police has scored its largest ever seizure of drug

During a raid at a St. Clair Street convenience store last week,
officers seized more than 2,000 items including pipes, water bongs,
scales and grinders.

"They are not just decorative items kept around the household," said
Const. Gary Oriet during a press conference Monday.

On display at Chatham-Kent police headquarters were some of the items
seized, including colourful pipes, large blown glass bongs and
grinders adorned with marijuana leaves. Items ranged in price from $5
to $200, Oriet said. He noted the confiscated items are worth $23,000.

"It is a very lucrative business," he said.

Oriet said all of the items are used for illicit drugs.

"There is no other purpose that these items can be used for," he

The officer alleged it was obvious by the marketing of the products -
which were displayed together in three glass cases - that the items
are meant for illicit drug use.

Oriet said police applied for a search warrant after Marjorie Crew of
East Side Pride brought the issue to his attention.

"It's just an extension of the drug trade," Crew said of selling

She said openly selling paraphernalia is an aspect of the drug trade
that is tolerated.

"When a community member enters a convenience store to see the shelves
lined with pipes, bongs and other drug tools, this gives the
impression that the drugs themselves are in the area and are
available," Crew said. "Having drug paraphernalia available in
communities within Chatham-Kent sends a message of acceptance and
tolerance which East Side Pride does not support."

She pointed out that the items were not displayed near tobacco but
close to hats and hot wheels, which are marketed towards youth.

Oriet said it is hoped that the recent bust will send a clear message
to other small business owners that selling items used for illicit
drugs is a crime.

"There will be further police action at some point down the road," he

Oriet said the 49-year-old store owner is charged with knowingly
selling instruments for illicit drug use. He is scheduled to appear in
court Jan. 24.

Jae Choi, owner of St. Clair Mini Mart, said police took many items
from his business.

"Every store carries that," he told The Chatham Daily News. "I didn't
know that's illegal."

Const. Doug Gutteridge said the law prohibiting businesses from
selling items used for illicit drugs has only been in effect for three
to four years.

The maximum penalty for a first offence is $100,000 fine and up to six
months in jail.
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