Trial Set for Twilight Boutique Owners on Drug Charges
Case set for Oct. 15 in Common Pleas Court
A trial has been set for the owners of Twilight Boutique, who face felony drug charges after a police raid at their former business March 2.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg has set a trial for Oct. 15 for Sean and Sherry Lightner of Columbia Station, both 36 and the husband-wife owners of the business, and for Shane Spohn, 26, an employee who lives in Parma Heights.
All three face felony drug trafficking charges. Police say the 586 packs of "herbal incense" -- sold under names like K2 and Spice -- that were confiscated in the raid contained illegal chemicals.
They are all three free on bond.
But Scott Lucas, attorney for Sean Lightner, said the court has yet to rule on a motion to dismiss the charges based on "unconstitutional vagueness" of the state statute under which they were charged.
Twilight Boutique moved out of its Prospect Road storefront at the end of May. A sign said it was moving to Parma.
Linndale Sgt. Tim Franczak, whose department spearheaded the raid, said the defendants are charged with a first-degree felony for selling products that contain an analog of the five chemicals banned by the DEA last year.
The products are marketed as herbal incense, but kids and young adults roll the vegetable matter -- which is treated with chemicals -- into cigarettes and smoke them for what they call "a legal high."
K2 and other synthetic marijuana disappeared from the shelves briefly after the ban, but were replaced by similar products containing slightly different chemicals.
Franczak said lab tests showed the products Twilight Boutique were selling contained an "analog chemical" that was substantially similar to the banned ones.
But Lucas said the defendants are challenging Ohio's recently enacted "analog" law on the grounds that "ordinary, everyday people have to have sufficient notice and understanding of what has been made illegal."
According to Franczak, an undercover officer from Linndale purchased an herbal incense product at Twilight earlier this year that was found to contain an illegal chemical.
Linndale then got a search warrant, which it executed March 2, confiscating not only the incense packets but hundreds of pipes and other smoking implements.
Company representatives have steadfastly denied the charges, saying the products being sold at Twilight Boutique were legal.
The DEA banned the chemicals after growing evidence the they were unsafe and have led to thousands of emergency room visits.