With more drug paraphernalia on display in stores around town, the Largo Police Department and members of the Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services reviewed the sale of the products at more than 25 convenience and food stores in Largo, according to a news release.
Eleven of the 25 locations were found in violation of a county ordinance or state statute covering the sale of drug paraphernalia, according to police.
The sale of drug paraphernalia such as glass pipes are legal in Florida as long as the store clerk does not know the pipe will be used to smoke an illegal drug, for example.
There is also a Pinellas County ordinance that make sure the drug paraphernalia are not displayed or advertised in stores where anyone under 18 can openly observe the merchandise; "where retailers reasonably know the use of their products are for illicit drug purposes," according to a police news release.
The undercover operation was conducted from March 12 until March 20. Several arrests have been made as a result of the compliance efforts, according to police.
The undercover officers made it very clear to the store clerks they wanted to purchase a pipe to smoke marijuana or cocaine. At 11 of the stores, the retailer sold the pipe anyway, which is a felony, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
In most locations the law enforcement team also found the sales of incense, potpourri and other products, which have been linked to These items pose a significant public health concern. The county is exploring further action to address the sale of synthetic substances, according to a news release.
- Seven Days Food Store, 2926 Roosevelt Boulevard
- BP Gas Station, 5545 Ulmerton Road. Mohab Farag was arrested on the charge of sale of paraphernalia.
- Qwik Mart, 7149 Ulmerton Road
- B&N Food Mart, 13355-A Belcher Road
- Fairway Discount Foods, 1090 Belcher Road. Arun Raj was arrested on the charges of sale of paraphernalia and intent to sell counterfeit drug.
- Super Am, 1595 Seminole Boulevard
- Marathon Gas Station, 1199 Ulmerton Road. Sami Abraham was arrested on the charge of sale of paraphernalia.
- BP Gas Station, 11301 Ulmerton Road. Zyad Quisini was arrested on the charge of sale of paraphernalia.
- Sonny's Convenience Store, 1400 Seminole Boulevard. Carol Taber was arrested on the charge of sale of paraphernalia.
- BP Gas Station, 790 East Bay Drive
- Express Food Mart, 1021 Highland Avenue. Yu Huang was arrested on the charge of sale of paraphernalia.