Friday, January 19, 2018
Public safety

Tampa store owner arrested after authorities find synthetic marijuana, other drugs

TAMPA — Authorities swept four convenience stores suspected of selling synthetic pot and on Wednesday arrested the owner of one for trafficking when other drugs were found, deputies said.

The sweep followed a monthlong investigation targeting local business that sell synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

While executing a warrant Wednesday morning at the Kwik Stop Food Store at 8665 Manassas Road, deputies found 238 packets of spice. But they also seized 4.5 grams of oxycodone, 50 tablets of Viagra, four tablets of Cialis, a 2012 Nissan Altima, a Rossi .38-caliber revolver and $1,583, a news release said.

Store owner Mutaz Elbooz, 39, was charged with armed trafficking in illegal drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a drug without a prescription. More charges are pending, the Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities searched three other stores in central and northern Hillsborough. They seized 345 packets of spice and $230 from Mobil Gas Station at 4002 Orient Road; 24 packets of spice from Make You Happy Food Store at 7504 N Florida Ave.; and 40 packets of spice and 24 packets of bath salts from Sam's Smoke Shop at 11612 N Nebraska Ave., according to the news release.

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