St. Petersburg police make first 'spice' arrest under State Attorney's emergency order

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Petersburg police arrested the owner of a drive-thru Wednesday for selling synthetic marijuana, also known as spice.  It was the first arrest in the city involving the synthetic drug, which investigators say contained a banned chemical.

According to a police statement, undercover detectives in February purchased two packages of spice, labeled as Mr. Happy Potpurri, at Nessa's Drive Thru convenience store at 5890 9th Avenue North.

Not all packages sold in the city as spice or K-2 are illegal.  In this instance, the packages purchased by the detectives were sent to a lab.  An analysis showed the contents of the packages contained the chemical XLR-11, a banned narcotic listed under an emergency order enacted by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi last December.

According to the statement, the owner of the drive-thru, Meherun Nessa, admitted that she knew it was illegal to sell the drug and that she typically only sold it to people she knew.  She also acknowledged receiving a flyer from police about synthetic drugs and had stopped selling spice.  When she was arrested, a search confirmed there were no synthetic drugs in her store.

Detectives have purchased spice at other locations around the city and are awaiting lab results.

A proposal is currently before City Council that would ban all spice products, regardless of contents, based on packaging requirements and other factors.

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