AKRON, Ohio — State agents and Akron police seized more than $11,000, synthetic drugs and gambling machines from a Fouse Avenue convenience store.
Investigators raided the 5 Corners Deli Friday as part of a probe into over-the-counter synthetic marijuana sales and illegal gambling at the business, police reports say.
No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the business or the employees. One patron, a 65-year-old woman, was issued a minor misdemeanor summons for playing one of the four slot-machine style gambling machines in the store, according to a police report.
Mike Abed, an employee who said his relative owns the store, said they would have thrown the machines away if they had known it was illegal.
“It wasn’t a money-maker,” Abbed said. “We just used it so there would be people here during the night, so people wouldn’t rob us.
“I would have thrown them in the middle of the parking lot.”
Akron police and the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Investigative Unit conducted a joint investigation into the store.
Akron police conducted surveillance on the store after receiving tips that someone was selling synthetic marijuana at the store, police reports say.
Investigators noted several customers lived in different neighborhoods or different counties, according to police reports. Investigators stopped several people driving away from the store who said two men inside were selling drugs, police reports say.
State agents went into the store on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 and bought $20 worth of Scooby Snax Berry Bliss synthetic marijuana and played on the gambling machines, police reports say. Both times, agents won a $12 payout, according to police.
An agent went into the store and played on one of the machines Nov. 12, police reports say. He then notified agents and officers waiting to raid the business.
Investigators seized drug paraphernalia — marijuana and crack smoking devices, rolling papers and digital scales — from a display case at the front counter, according to police. They also seized several packages of synthetic marijuana, $11,836 and a payout ledger, according to police reports.
A 52-year-old employee working at the time told police he buys the synthetic marijuana from different suppliers for $12 per package. He then sells them to customers for $18.79 plus tax, police reports say.
Abbed said some of the money seized were from regular sales, not just from the machines or the synthetic marijuana.
“They took everything,” Abbed said. “They didn’t leave us one penny to work with.”
The raid is the third since Oct. 7 on Akron convenience stores suspected of having illegal gambling machines inside their stores.
Five people were charged in connection with raids at the Memorial One Stop on Oct. 7 and the Boulevard Express Ciggys on Oct. 18. All charged have pleaded not guilty.
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