Three Cranston residents are among those facing charges after a multi-agency law enforcement operation on Valentine’s Day resulted in the seizure of hundreds of packets of synthetic marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash at locations in Foster, Smithfield and West Warwick.
Paul Gyuleseryan, 26, and Daniel Squires, 29, both of 180 Cardinal St., are charged with delivery of a Schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in connection with the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at the Star Petrol on Danielson Pike in Foster, according to Rhode Island State Police. Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, 37, of 74 Lambert St, Apt. 101, faces the same charge in connection with the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at the Convenience Plus on Legris Avenue in West Warwick.
In all, six men and one woman were arrested on drug distribution charges in the operation, which was conducted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Smithfield Police Department and the West Warwick Police Department.
Police said the arrests are part of a “coordinated effort to attack the prevalence of synthetic cannabinoids, a substance often referred to or marketed as ‘synthetic pot,’ ‘herbal incense,’ ‘spice’ and ‘bath salts,’” which are “much more dangerous than their naturally occurring counterparts.”
“Unlike the drugs they try to mimic, synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones have been known to cause people to become violent or delirious, and can also cause high blood pressure, vomiting, and a number of deadly health complications,” according to police.
In addition to Star Petrol and Convenience Plus, search warrants were executed at Twin River Mini Mart on Douglas Pike in Smithfield and the Shell Fuel Station at 6 Providence St. in West Warwick.
According to police, the warrants resulted in the seizure of more than 1,200 packets of synthetic marijuana and over $21,000.
Harry Gyuleseryan, 24, of 17 Roma St. in East Providence was also arrested in the Star Petrol bust and faces the same charge as the two Cranston men.
Karuna Mehta, 43, of 205 Douglas Pike in North Smithfield was arrested in the Convenience Plus operation and faces the same charge.
Hassen Badshah Khan, 55, of 33 Prospect St., Apt. 401 in Fall River, Mass., faces seven counts of delivery of a Schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer and one count of possession with intent to deliver in connection with the Twin River Mini Mart bust.
Mian Saleen, 29, of 128 Patriot Way in West Greenwich, faces one count of delivery of a Schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in connection with the Shell Fuel Station operation.
“I want to thank the members of the Smithfield Police Department, the West Warwick Police Department, the Foster Police Department and our HIDTA Task Force members for their the outstanding inter-agency cooperation as well as the hard work and dedication of the participants. I also would like to thank Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin for spearheading legislation enacted last year that placed synthetic cannabinoids on the highly regulated Schedule I drug list, and banned their manufacture, sale and use in Rhode Island,” said State Police Col. Steven G. O’Donnell.