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St. Pete store owner charged with illegal sale of ‘spice’

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Published:   |   Updated: March 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM

The owner of a St. Petersburg convenience store faces drug charges after police say she sold illegal synthetic marijuana to an undercover detective.

Police say this is the first arrest for illegal spice in St. Petersburg, and more may follow.

After receiving a tip that illegal spice (K-2) was being sold at Nessa’s Drive Thru on 5820 9th Avenue N., a St. Petersburg detective on Feb. 4 purchased two spice packages labeled “Mr. Happy Potpourri” from store owner Meherun Nessa, 54.

Spice is only illegal if the contents include illegal chemicals prohibited by Florida law, according to the news release. A lab analysis of the two packages revealed the presence of the chemical XLR-11, a Schedule 1 narcotic listed under the emergency order enacted by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in December.

The packages purchased by the undercover detective had a yellow smiley face on the front and contained four grams of spice, police say.

Nessa was charged Wednesday with felony sale and possession of a controlled substance, and after her arrest, Nessa told police she was aware it was illegal to sell spice, but typically only sold it to people she knew.

She also told police that she stopped selling spice in her store after receiving a flyer from police concerning synthetic drugs and Spice, and a search at the time of her arrest confirmed she no longer had illegal synthetic drugs in the store.

Following Wednesday’s arrest, police say detectives have purchased other spice packages in recent weeks and more may follow, pending lab tests results.

A new city ordinance, banning the sale of all spice products apart from the state regulations, goes for a second reading before the city council on April 4.

Synthetic drug sales are illegal in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

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