Marietta police have raided a tobacco and vape shop and seized more than 100 pounds of what they believe are capsules designed to produce effects similar to heroin.
Cops raided the Royal Cigar & Tobacco shop at 1514 Roswell Road and Endangered Botanicals at 1510 Roswell Road Tuesday after allegedly collecting evidence that products at both stores contained THC, the compound in marijuana that produces the euphoric feeling.
Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy said the department began investigating the sale of hemp and CBD oil following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings about deaths related to vaping and THC oil.
Officers collected samples from multiple shops around the city, including the two businesses that are owned by 28-year-old Billy Scott Christian. Those samples were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing. McPhilamy said the results from Christian’s two business contained THC, not hemp, as advertised.
“That was enough for us to secure a search warrant,” McPhilamy said.
Police executed search warrants around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and seized more than nine pounds of marijuana, three firearms, scales and baggies.
Cops also found a lab set up to create gummy edibles and what Christian allegedly told police were kratom capsules. Kratom is a plant that produces the same effects as using heroin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. McPhilamy said the product is illegal in 15 states, but not Georgia.
Multiple bales of the powder were located at the back of the store, and police saw evidence “in plain sight” where the green powder was being poured into clear capsules. Those capsules were then fed into a sorting machine to be packaged under various names, McPhilamy said.
More than 100 pounds of the edibles and kratom capsules were collected for testing. Any charges related to the alleged edibles and kratom capsules are pending the results, McPhilamy said.
A search warrant was also obtained for Christian’s unincorporated Marietta home, and Cobb County Police Department’s Violent Incident Prevention and Early Response unit also recovered marijuana and another firearm.
“Chief (Dan) Flynn remains committed to ensuring that the residents of Marietta are safe, especially from those who would package items in such unsanitary conditions under the guise of being a legal product,” McPhilamy said.
Christian is charged with sale of marijuana, intent to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana more than an ounce and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, all of which are felonies. He remains at the Cobb County jail without bond.
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