Owners of 2 Columbia County convenience stores indicted on charges of selling synthetic marijuana

Pumpkin Center Store owners Young Ju Kim (top left) and Hyun Su Kim (top right) were indicted on 17 counts of possession of a counterfeit substance with intent to distribute. Lewiston Express owner Atul Patel (bottom left) and his son, Kinjalkumar Patel (bottom right), were indicted on 18 counts of the same charge.

Owners of two Columbia Coun­ty convenience stores have been indicted on charges of selling synthetic marijuana.

A Columbia County grand jury indicted Young Ju Kim and Hyun Su Kim, the owners of Pumpkin Center Store, on 17 counts of possession of a counterfeit substance with intent to distribute, according to court documents released Thursday.

On July 5, sheriff’s narcotics investigators searched the Harlem-area store at 1313 Appling-Harlem Highway. They found 292 packets of what was confirmed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab to be synthetic marijuana.

The illegal Schedule I drug was behind the front counter and in the back office, sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

Synthetic marijuana, also know as K2 or Spice, is a psychoactive designer drug derived of natural herbs sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effects of cannabis.

Kim told investigators she had more synthetic marijuana at her Evans home, where they found 853 packets that were confirmed to be the drug.

The Kims were arrested Dec. 4 and released after posting a $7,600 bond each, according to jailers.

The grand jury also indicted Atul Patel, the owner of Lewiston Express at 107 Lewiston Road, and his son, Kinjalkumar Patel, on 18 counts of the same charge, according to the court documents.

Investigators searched the store June 21 and seized 401 packages of suspected synthetic marijuana, according to Morris. He said 30 packages are known to be the drug and the rest were sent for further analysis.

The Patels, of Evans, were selling the drug out of the store, where the younger Patel also worked, according to authorities. Both were arrested and released after they posted $7,600 bonds, according to jailers.

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Sun, 12/04/2016 - 20:05

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