CR’s Friendly Market, a convenience store located on East High Street in Elizabethtown, was caught selling synthetic marijuana and bath salts in exchange for food stamps. The Pennsylvania Legislature banned these illegal drugs last year and those who purchased the substances were illegally using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, which are solely intended for food.
On Feb. 1, police officers raided CR’s Friendly Market and owner Baljeet Singh was arrested, along with employee Jaspreet Singh. They were both charged with dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, possession with the intent to deliver and various other charges. According to the Elizabethtown Borough Police Department, arrest warrants were granted to those associated with the convenience store. Undercover officers had been investigating the business for a couple of weeks after they received a tip that illegal drugs were being sold at the store. According to the Feb. 2, 2012 issue of The Elizabethtown Advocate, Singh claimed he was unaware he was breaking the law.
Bath salts are a relatively new designer drug that often contain synthetic stimulants like mephedrone, MDPV and methylone. They are sold illegally in several Pa. stores in powder form, according to WebMD.
CR’s Friendly Market, neighboring the Elizabethtown Area High School, is situated in a prime spot for citizens of the town, as many students pass it on their way to school. The drug search may come as a shock to many, but it is similar to the Bad Boys Toys raid in late December.
Bad Boys Toys, a drug paraphernalia specialty shop on South Market Street, was also accused of selling illegal bath salts. Local business owners in Elizabethtown, as well as patrons of the town, were happy to see the police taking action and stopping the unlawful acts.
These incidents can be seen as a threat to many people living in Etown, as well as those attending school here at Elizabethtown College. To local business owners, the illegal activity was viewed as dangerous to their own businesses even though they were unaware the dealings were going on. A Bad Boys Toys in Lemoyne, Pa. was also shut down in December and similarly, the owner was arrested and accused of selling illegal bath salts.
Two Bad Boys Toys co-owners in Palmyra, Pa. were arrested on drug dealing-related charges in December also. The Londonderry Township Police officials described the business as being worth millions of dollars. The officers confiscated thousands of dollars of drug paraphernalia during the Palmyra investigation.
The House of Delegates recently banned the use of bath salts and the American Medical Association supported the decision. Bath salts are sold in many paraphernalia stores for as little as $10 and the addiction effects can be compared to those of cocaine. They are sold under various names such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Blue Silk” and can cause hallucinations as well as high blood pressure and paranoia. Bath salts have been banned in many states, including the recent ban in Pennsylvania, but are still legal in some states.
For more information or to report suspicious sightings, contact the Elizabethtown Borough Police at 717-367-6540, or on foot at 600 South Hanover Street.