Four people were arrested Thursday following a months-long investigation and raid that produced the largest synthetic marijuana bust in Clearwater history.
Police said they seized the synthetic marijuana following an investigation at four stores: Wanna Save, 1362 Cleveland St.; Hillcrest Store, 1391 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd.; Super Sonic, 724 S. Missouri Ave.; and Danny's Tobacco Shop, 1621 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd.
Investigators seized a huge amount of synthetic marijuna during their raids, including 49 large trash bags in the Hillcrest store alone. Authorities later determined they seized more than 18,000 packages of synthetic marijuana from the Hillcrest Store, with an estimated street value of $300,000, police said.
The total value of the seized merchandise from all of the stores has yet to be determined.
Four men have been charged in the case. All are in the Pinellas County Jail:
--Jean Bitar, 57 of 3590 Magnolia Ridge Circle, Apt. H., Palm Harbor, from Danny's Smoke Shop.
He is charged with two charges of sale or delivery of a controlled substance, and two charges of possession of a controlled substance. He is being held on $30,000 bond.
-- Tarak Allababidi, 19, 4711 Rowan Road, Apt. 409, New Port Richey, from Super Sonic. He is charged with two charges of sale or delivery of a controlled substance, and two charges of possession of a controlled substance.He is being held on $24,000 bond.
--Remon Aziz Farg, 21227 U.S. Hwy. 19, 105B, Clearwater, from Wanna Save, faces one count of sale of synthentic cannabis. He is being held on $5,000 bond.
-- Christopher Dolu, 20, who worked at the Wanna Save. The charge against him was not immediately available.
A total of $15,000 in cash also was seized from the stores, police say.
The synthetic drugs, also known as K-2 and Spice, have become popular with younger people. They often are sold in brightly colored packages.