HOLIDAY, Fla. - At the Foodland Mini-Mart, our cameras were not welcome Tuesday. Two men who said they worked for the owners blocked our entry and told us to leave as they closed the door.
Owners at the store are not thrilled with the publicity they are getting after they were singled out for ignoring the ban on synthetic drugs.
"If there was more egregious store that turned a blind eye to this, it was the Foodland at 3444 Grand Boulevard in Holiday," said Pasco Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bill Davis.
Investigators say the store continued to sell synthetic marijuana even after continued warnings and citations.
Owner Yasser Elkaazani and clerk Nashat Sheata were arrested last week.
But an undercover deputy was still able to buy more of the illegal stuff days later.
"It's arrogance. They didn't really take anything we said seriously," said the detective.
Monday, the Sheriff's Office went back to Foodland and arrested the owner's wife, Maha Hanna, and confiscated almost 140 packets of banned products with names like Mad Hatter and Scooby Doo.
The latest bust added up $75,000 in fines.
"If that doesn't send a message to the greed of these idiots, selling the stuff in our community, I don't know what else we can do," said Davis.
Pasco County mother Denise Szulis has made it her mission to stop the sale of the synthetic drugs sometimes referred to as spice or bath salts.
"It had to stop, these kids are getting hurt. They are dying. They are ending up with brain damage, that's not repairable," said Szulis.
She's even protested in front of stores. And has a Facebook page for her group called Save Pasco.
"If you are a business owner, you have a responsibility to the community you serve and it has to be about people. What they are doing is wrong, it's morally criminal."
While the Foodland Mini-Mart may be in trouble, the Sheriff's office says most stores are following the law.
They just hope the State Attorney's office will prosecute those who aren't.
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