Dangerous synthetic drugs were sold at an Oakdale tobacco store and at a Washington County residence under fetching names such as “Johnny Clearwater’s Banana Split” and “Mary Jane’s Potpourri,” according to felony charges filed against the owner.
County Attorney Pete Orput said three counts were filed Friday against Hatem Amin Younis, 44, owner of Smokedale Tobacco in Oakdale and a resident of Afton.
Law enforcement officers seized thousands of items that contained suspected controlled substances, leading to charges of selling and possessing synthetic hallucinogens, stimulants and cannabinoids. The latter is a substance that attempts to mimic marijuana.
“Synthetic controlled substance use is extraordinarily dangerous,” Orput said. “We only have to recall the Woodbury High School student who died … after ingesting a synthetic hallucinogen to know how deadly they can be.”
He was referring to Tara Fitzgerald, 17, who died in January 2014 from the synthetic substance 25i-NBOMe, which she thought was LSD. Two men and three teenagers — a girl and two boys — were convicted of selling the drug that killed her.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Younis, Oakdale police and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a nearly four-year investigation into sales activity at Smokedale Tobacco.
It began in August 2012, the complaint said, when police learned that a teenage girl overdosed on a synthetic drug called “Skin Bubbles” purchased from Smokedale Tobacco. She discarded the drug in the woods behind her house, where officers found two containers labeled “Bubbles Glass Cleaner” that contained a hallucinogen.
Informants told police the Bubbles drug could be obtained by asking for “the usual” at Smokedale.
Searches of the store and of the Younis house in Afton uncovered packages that tested positive for controlled substances under marketing names such as “Mind Crip,” “Green Giant Herbal Potpourri” and “Joker,” the complaint said.
Similar illegal substances were found at the defendant’s Smokedale Tobacco stores in Minneapolis and Hudson, Wis., the complaint said.
“Testing of the remaining seized items is pending,” the complaint said.
Younis’ first court appearance will be Aug. 4.