CPD makes first arrest for fake weed

Published 4:31 pm Friday, October 28, 2011

A Clanton storeowner and another man were arrested Thursday night for selling synthetic marijuana. The arrests are the department’s first since Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order Oct. 14 adding the drug to the state’s list of controlled substances.

Shahnawaz Virani, owner of West Side Food Mart, and Abdul Muhammad Shamsuddin Backlani were arrested Thursday night at the store, according to Clanton PD Capt. David Clackley.

Both men were charged with distribution of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a certain chemical compound.

After Bentley’s order, Clanton officers delivered memos from the district attorney’s office concerning the new law to every convenience store in Clanton.

A memo was hand-delivered to West End Food Mart on Oct. 17, Police Chief Brian Stilwell said.

Clackley said the department had received complaints that the store, which is located on Enterprise Road, was selling synthetic marijuana. In response, patrol officers sent someone in the store to buy the drug, which was being kept in a back room, Clackley said.

After the operative came out with the fake weed, officers got warrants to arrest the two men and search the store. Several more bags of synthetic marijuana were recovered, Clackley said.

Virani was also cited for a municipal ordinance violation — failure to levy a tax — because several packs of cigarettes did not carry a city of Clanton tax tag, Stilwell said.

The Alabama ABC Board assisted with the investigation and seized 80 packs of cigarettes that had improper tax tags.