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EP Man Snared in Synthetic Pot Sweep

Police are trying to curtail the sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones.

An East Providence man is among a group of seven arrested on drug distribution charges after a multi-agency investigation and raids of several convenience stores in Rhode Island that allegedly were selling synthetic pot.

Members of the State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, Smithfield Police, West Warwick Police and Foster Police executed search warrants at the four convenience stores on Friday and seized 1,200 packets of synthetic marijuana and more than $21,000 in cash.

Police said the arrests are part of a "coordinated effort to attack the prevalence of synthetic cannabinoids" that try to mimic marijuana but "unlike the drugs they try to mimic, they are known to cause people to become violent or delirious, and can also cause high blood pressure, vomiting and a number of deadly health complications."

Police executed search warrants at the following stores:

  • Twin River Mini Mart, 151 Douglas Pike, Smithfield
  • Star Petrol, 173 Danielson Pike, Foster
  • Convenience Plus, 177 Legris Avenue, West Warwick
  • Shell Fuel Station, 6 Providence Street, West Warwick

Arrested were: 

Hassen Badshah Khan, 55, of 33 Prospect Street, Fall River, Mass., was arrested related to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Twin River Mini Mart. He was arraigned on seven (7) counts of delivery of a schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer and one count of possession of a schedule I narcotic with intent to deliver in Third Division District Court on Friday.

Harry Gyuleseryan, 24, of 17 Roma St.,  East Providence, relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Star Petrol. He was charged with delivery of a schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in Third Division District Court on Friday.

Paul Gyuleseryan, 26, of 180 Cardinal St., Cranston, relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Star Petrol. He was charged with Delivery of a Schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in Third Division District Court on Friday.

Daniel Squires, 29, of 180 Cardinal St., Cranston, Rhode Island relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Star Petrol. He was charged with Delivery of a Schedule I Narcotic to an Undercover Police Officer in Third Division District Court on Friday.

Karuna Mehta, 43, of 205 Douglas Pike, North Smithfield, relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Convenience Plus. She was charged with delivery of a schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in Third Division District Court.

Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, 37, of 74 Lambert St., Cranston, relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at Convenience Plus. He was charged with delivery of a schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in Third Division District Court on Friday.

Mian Saleen, 29, of 128 Patriot Way, West Greenwich, relating to the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana at the Shell Fuel Station. He was charged with of delivery of a Schedule I narcotic to an undercover police officer in Third Division District Court on Friday.

"Synthetic drugs are the new frontier in the war on drugs. Addressing synthetic drug use by our youth and getting these drugs off convenience stores shelves has been a top priority for my office," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. "The alleged illegal activity of selling these drugs over the counter by these individuals is akin to selling cocaine or heroin on the street corner. With the new law banning the manufacture and sale of these drugs, police and prosecutors now have the tools to rid our community of this illegal activity."

"I want to thank the members of the Smithfield Police Department, the West Warwick Police Department, the Foster Police Department and our HIDTA Task Force members for their the outstanding inter-agency cooperation as well as the hard work and dedication of the participants," said State Police Superintendent Col. Steven G. O'Donnell. "I also would like to thank Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin for spearheading legislation enacted last year that placed synthetic cannabinoids on the highly regulated Schedule I drug list, and banned their manufacture, sale and use in Rhode Island."

"I hope that the arrests send the message to the public that these substances are illegal and dangerous," said Colonel Richard G. Silva, West Warwick Chief of Police. "The arrests will provide a warning to those willing to sell them that we will continue to investigate those involved in the distribution of these synthetic drugs."

The HIDTA Task Force is managed by the Rhode Island State Police and comprised of members from Providence Police, Pawtucket Police, Johnston Police, Smithfield Police, Central Falls Police, North Providence Police, United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Rhode Island National Guard. This investigation owes its success to the outstanding inter-agency cooperation amongst all its participants as well as the hard work and dedication of the task force members. 

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