By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – More than $85,000 worth of illegal bath salts have been confiscated from a Ripley convenience store.
Ripley police and Tippah County deputies on Tuesday confiscated 1,737 packets of the salts with a total retail value of $86,850, according to Tippah County Sheriff Karl Gaillard.
The owner of Ripley Fast Stop and a 16-year-old who allegedly was looking to sell them were arrested.
The arrests are thought to be the first in the state under new law that outlaws the chemical and its derivatives contained in the salts. The salts can be smoked and snorted, and give a high similar to meth.
Store owner Sadat Badr of Hickory Flat is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. The charge is enhanced because the salts were being sold within 1,500 feet of school property.
The teen is charged with sale of a controlled substance. He was being held in a Corinth juvenile facility, pending a hearing today before Judge Joe Gay in Tippah County Youth Court.
The sheriff’s department had received numerous complaints about salts in the area and deputies went undercover, the sheriff said.
“We made a buy in his store earlier that day,” Gaillard said.
Authorities also seized about $300 in cash in a cigar box, along with a set of electronic scales and several pipes that can be used to smoke drugs. The box contained several packets of the bath salts, and receipts indicating several packets had been bought using a credit card or debit card.
Authorities believe Badr has legal custody of the juvenile, whose parents are in Yemen. Also found in the store were several Social Security cards, believed to belong to Badr’s children.
Each plastic packet contains 500 milligrams of bath salts containing cathinone. The packets were being sold for $50 each. That chemical – and derivatives of it – was banned Friday when the DeWayne Crenshaw Act was amended to outlaw it. The original law banning bath salts containing certain ingredients was passed several months ago, but did not include cathinone and the derivatives.
The bill is named in honor of Tippah County Sheriff’s Deputy DeWayne Crenshaw, who was shot to death in December after he responded to a disturbance call.
The man accused of shooting him, Franklin Fitzpatrick, faces a capital murder charge in the case. Fitzpatrick is widely believed to have been high on bath salts at the time he is accused of shooting Crenshaw.