Created on Thursday, 21 February 2013 Written by By THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
The owner/operator of a Bellefontaine convenience store where drug-related items and almost $200,000 were seized last year pleaded guilty recently in Logan County Common Pleas Court to a misdemeanor charge.
Evidence technicians collect materials at Speedy Mart, 511 S. Main St., during a February, 2012 raid. Information developed by the Logan County Joint Drug Task Force led to the search of the business.
Boxes of seized paraphernalia related to illegal drugs sit aside an ice cream cooler.
A “Closed” sign greeted Speedy Mart customers during last year's raid as local and state authorites conducted a search which lasted more than four hours. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | JOEL E. MAST)
Valibhav “Ricky” Patel, 36, pleaded guilty to permitting drug abuse, a first-degree misdemeanor. The defendant also agreed to forfeit $50,000 to the Logan County Joint Drug Task Force and a distribution of the balance of the $173,000 seized by authorities in a February, 2012 raid of Speedy Mart, 511 S. Main St.
In addition to the cash, agents from the joint drug task force and the Ohio Investigative Unit, an arm of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, also seized synthetic marijuana known as K2, which state legislators outlawed in 2011.
Confidential informants made at least two K2 purchases from Speedy Mart ahead of the raid. Synthetic urine and glass pipes were also sold under the table, and could apparently be purchased together with the K2 in what was known as a “brown bag special.”
Prosecutors have since determined the defendant has a substantial tax debt to the state of Ohio. He is not to be doing business locally, per his plea agreement.
The $50,000 for the local joint drug task force will be used for educational purposes, prosecutors said.