The owners of Super Gas have been indicted for selling synthetic drugs to an undercover agent, something their attorney says they did not realize was illegal to sell.
The defendants, Paresh J. Patel and Bhavana P. Patel, both entered not guilty pleas before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to charges of distributing and possessing a synthetic cannabinoid and possession and delivery of drug paraphernalia.
Their charges come after lawmen sent an undercover agent into numerous stores around Warren County attempting to purchase items which had been made illegal this summer. The items they were looking to buy were certain types of plant food and incense which have been widely used as intoxicants.
The wide abuse of the items prompted the state legislature to declare the items illegal for sale or possession in Tennessee. Several states still allow the sale and possession of the items.
As a result of the declaration of the items as illegal drugs, several jurisdictions including Warren County decided to do spot checks on places known to the sell the plant foods and incense. According to investigators, Super Gas was the only store to sell the items to the undercover agent.
The store was raided a short time later. The illegal items, along with $18,000, were seized from the store.
However, their attorney, Scott Horton, pointed out his clients are good members of the community who did not know they were committing a crime when they allegedly sold the items to the undercover agent.
“I don’t think they knew it was against the law especially since the law had just been passed,” Horton said. “They thought they were just selling incense like a lot of convenience stores do. And, for all we know, right now it could have just been incense.”
Horton pointed out Tennessee is one of few states to make the alleged cannabinoids illegal.