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Police Raid Twilight Boutique, Charge Owner with Drug Trafficking

Fake pot, hundreds of pipes confiscated from Strongsville head shop

Police from Linndale and Strongsville executed a search warrant at on Prospect Road Friday morning, arresting two people and confiscating boxfuls of synthetic marijuana and smoking implements.

Business owner Sherry Lightner and an employee are being charged with felony trafficking in drugs, Linndale Sgt. Tim Franczak said.

Franczak said police found 586 packs of "herbal incense" -- sold under names like K2 and Spice -- that authorities believe contain banned chemicals. 

The products are being tested to see if they do, in fact, include any of the .

Franczak said an undercover officer purchased a K2 product at Twilight earlier that was found to contain illegal chemicals, which led to Linndale obtaining a search warrant and to Friday's arrests.

Because the undercover officer purchased a pipe with the herbal incense, police also confiscated hundreds of pipes and other smoking devices, some priced at hundreds of dollars, Franczak said.

In all, 2,000 items were taken from the store, which closed temporarily.

"Within a few hours, they were stocking the shelves again," Franczak said.

Todd Pullman, who identified himself as a holding a senior management position in Twilight Corp., said in an email that the charges will not stand up.

"The only comment we will make is that when the analysis comes back as 100 percent legal, we want all of our product returned and we will be asking to be compensated for any and all breakage," Pullman said. 

He added, "The real story here is one of a business that pays more than its fair share in tax revenue, employs more than 100 people in Ohio and is being targeted by individuals in law enforcement because of their personal feelings not the law."

It will likely take several weeks for the products to undergo lab testing. If they all contain illegal chemicals, the amount would be so large that Lightner would face a first-degree felony, Franczak said.

"It's the equivalent of getting caught with a couple kilos of heroin," he said. "It's a very large amount of drugs."

Franczak said his department made the arrests because an investigation that started in Linndale led them to Twilight, but said Linndale worked in conjunction with Strongsville on the case.

Kids Getting Sick

Fake pot has been popular throughout the nation in recent years.

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."

But authorities say the chemicals aren't safe and have led to thousands of emergency room visits.

Just last month, two teens at mall called for an ambulance . 

Last year, the DEA identified the five of the chemicals used to produce the high and made them illegal. 

Manufacturers quickly replaced those chemicals with new ones, leading to kids still getting a "legal high" with altered products.

However, some of the products on the market have been found to still contain the banned compounds.

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john jones March 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
All charges have been dropped by the police. I think you need to print a retraction or a correction. All the products that were seized were 100% legal and I am glad they are open again.
Full Name March 05, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Thank you Strongsville Patch for posting a false document on the web. If you want to know the real truth, Twilight Boutique has NEVER sold K2, or Spice. Once again thank you for the misprint and lack of investigation on this matter. And as the above comment states, all charges have been dropped against said owner and employee. Thank you for being part of the problem.
steve stevens March 05, 2012 at 09:05 PM
thank you mr. John Jones for your response to this article. It was very informative and i did some research and you are 100% correct All charges were dropped. Apparently they based the raid off of speculation and not fact. Once again Thank You. And as for the "teens" that got sick off of it, according to an employee at Southwest General Hospital, almost EVERY case involving these chemicals, other chemicals were found as well such as alcohol, cocaine, and "huffing" agents. If the police spent as much time on real crimes and criminals as they do on "raiding" legitimate establishments based on their own feelings, we would live in a better world.
Debbie Palmer March 05, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Thanks, Full Name and others, but no charges have been dropped. I just talked to Sgt. Franczak, who said the original charge of selling a product containing illegal chemicals in an herbal incense stands. The lab results on the 586 seized packets will determine if the charge remains a fifth-degree felony or becomes a more serious felony. The police didn't close the store -- just confiscated some items. The fact that the store reopened doesn't mean the charges were dropped.
tom m March 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM
and I thought the Linndale police only gave out speeding tickets on their 100 feet of highway
john jones March 05, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Funny thing is the court has no record of the case, there is no court date set, and the owner, and employee were released without bail and without seeing a judge. What does that tell you? Tells me they screwed up and are scrambling to cover their behinds. The product in question has been screened by a national testing lab and was shown to be 100% compliant with the laws of the state and nation. I look forward to the story on the charges being dismissed and ALL products being returned.
tom m March 05, 2012 at 10:00 PM
it looks as though you are attempting to try the case in the patch .you are forgetting to include this line >>>It will likely take several weeks for the products to undergo lab testing.
john jones March 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Since we randomly test all of our products I am absolutely positive the case will be dismissed. The product in question was just retested 3 weeks ago and came back 100% legal. Also, just a note, we have NEVER carried K2 or spice.
andy anderson March 06, 2012 at 03:29 AM
is k2 a synonym for potpourri? i like lavender, it makes my home smell purty. so can i say , "honey, we got company commin'... burn us up some lavender k2 so this place don't smell so much like reefer !!"
Cindy Marino March 06, 2012 at 07:02 PM
If I were you, I would not post righteously indignant posts on a public site for everyone to see. You don't want the cops and prosecutors getting even more annoyed; it will affect how aggressively your case is handled. I'm in the same shoes as the Twilight Boutique. Save the public righteous indignation for when your case is actually dismissed and you sue to get your money for your product back. It's just the smart thing to do...
Cindy Marino March 06, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Oh that reminds me...don't sue for the actual product back...sue for the money instead. The retail value...
Ken McEntee March 06, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Full Name. If your concerns are valid, you need to aim them in the proper direction. When police from two municipalities raid a business, it's news. If police officials tell a reporter that they confiscated K2 or Spice and it isn't true, your issue is with them, not the reporter, If you turn out to be correct and the police improperly raided a law-abiding business, I'm sure it will be properly reported.
Dave Mowers June 05, 2012 at 03:45 PM
So John Jones is the store's owner pretending to be a concerned citizen on here?
Dave Mowers June 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM
None of the charges were dropped I just checked and not only are they still there, they have been increased to more serious felonies. You also fail to realize that the D.E.A. made all analogs of synthetic marijuana illegal under emergency order and Congress and the Senate just passed the bill making it official so now the evidence seized in this raid can be handed to D.E.A. and the store's owners will be facing 20 years for trafficking, first offense and civil assets forfeiture of their company and all profits plus a penalty equal to double what they earned off the drugs.
Dave Mowers June 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Ridiculous since any analog compound of synthetic marijuana is illegal and you cannot sue for your illegal drugs profits but you are right about not posting here I am astounded these people did this because it is incriminating and will end up part of a federal case against them.
BrendonO January 02, 2013 at 07:24 PM
This is so annoying. Laws against herbal incense will never be effective at keeping the drugs out of the hands of kids. I buy herbal incense online and I look up different kinds at http://smokingblendreviews.com so I know that it's easy for anyone to buy the stuff, no matter how many brick and mortar retailers get shut down.
Lisa January 03, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Strongsville allows places like this but rejects Internet Cafes, where mostly they are a place where seniors like to get together and have innocent fun, never has any Internet Cafe caused a problem! Unbelieveable!
Ken McEntee January 03, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Agreed, Lisa. The ban on Internet Cafes is ludicrous.
Lisa January 03, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Ken, use your influence to change their minds and get Internet Cafes back here! lol
mike January 07, 2013 at 05:39 PM
They sell AK-47 spice ALL day..You just have to be a old customer...They told me when I stopped in sales are between $5,000-$10,000 each STORE daily 24 hrs a day..
im not telling May 24, 2013 at 02:05 PM
its funny how all of you are arguing about the case. k2 and spice HAVE een illegalized ut potpourri has not. as long as it does not contain the illegal chemicals it is not illegal. and yes i do believe is was pure speculation y the cops. ecuase the undercover would have to have the bag he purchased sent through testing. if not, then they raided them on the simple fact that they sold him a ag of potpourri and not k2 or spice. if they know the chemicals were ilegal then why send it in to be tested? EXACTLY. it was a mess up by the strongville police and they wanna cover their ass

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