Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

                                 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

                              *News Release*                 Date: September 14, 2011

 
 

       

 

 

 

 

 

Illegal ‘’bath salts’’ sales lead to arrests

 

 

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today that six individuals have been arrested in a series of narcotics raids that also led to the seizure of more than $163,000 in synthetic marijuana and a chemical powder known as ‘’bath salts,’’ which were being sold illegally at three smoke shops and a gas station convenience store in Middlesex County.

 

Members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Gangs, Guns and Drugs Task Force, with assistance of police in New Brunswick, East Brunswick and Sayreville, also confiscated $25,145 in cash earned from the illegal sales, and took digital scales, pipes and other drug paraphernalia as part of a massive crackdown on the sale of the synthetic drugs.

 

‘’Since these synthetic drugs were banned, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has aggressively worked to keep them off of store shelves,’’ Prosecutor Kaplan said. ‘’It is important for people to know that the sale and possession of these products is illegal, and the use of these products is dangerous.’’

 

‘’This successful initiative shows just how aggressively the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Task Force is working to halt the sale, distribution, and use of  bath salts and other dangerous designer drugs,’’ Thomas R. Calcagni, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said.

 

‘’As we know from reports throughout the state and nation, use of these drugs is associated with gruesome outbursts of violence, self-mutilation, and suicide. Retailers are now on notice that the sale of these toxic chemicals will not be tolerated in New Jersey.’’

 

Six designer drug chemicals commonly labeled as ‘’bath salts,’’ a chemical powder that mimics methamphetamines and cocaine, were banned by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs on April 27, 2011, and subsequently outlawed under a bill signed into law on August 22, 2011.

 

Five synthetic marijuana chemicals were banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in March, and their ban took effect in New Jersey law in April, under the authority of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

 

Calcagni said the products were banned due to their association with extreme anxiety, extreme paranoia, delusional thinking, and visual and auditory hallucinations, violent outbursts, self-mutilation, and suicidal thoughts, and physical symptoms including increased blood pressure and heart rate, severe chest pains, and jerky muscle movements.

 

The consumer affairs director also said emergency rooms have reported to the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System that some patients who used the so-called bath salts drugs were so aggressive they had to be sedated, intubated, and placed on respirators before they could be treated.

 

Following a four-month investigation into illegal sales, the series of raids began on August 2, 2011, at a Shell gas station at 1010 Route 18 in East Brunswick, where owner Jarnail Sandhu (DOB 2/2/86) of 37 Winding Wood Drive, Apartment 6-A in Sayreville, was arrested and charged. Bail was set at $100,000, with no option to post 10 percent of the amount.

 

Also arrested and charged was Sandhu’s mother, Charanjit K. Sandhu (DOB 12/12/54) of 23 Amarillo Drive in Nanuet, N.Y. She was released on her own recognizance.

 

Both defendants were charged with distribution of bath salts and synthetic marijuana; possession of bath salts and synthetic marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Police also raided three smoke shops in New Brunswick on September 8, 2011, and confiscated drug paraphernalia and quantities of synthetic marijuana and bath salts.

 

At the Amsterdam Smoke Shop at 29 Easton Avenue in New Brunswick, police arrested the store owner, Ayman S. Al-Nsairat (DOB 1/30/71) of 57 Lear Court, Building 3, in East Brunswick, and Maria M. Almanzar (DOB 5/20/91) of 660 39th Street, Apartment 5-C, Union City.

 

Also arrested and charged was Lukasz M. Poplawski (DOB 3/11/90) of 346 Doane Avenue, Staten Island, N.Y.

 

All three were released on their own recognizance after they were charged with possession of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia. Almanzar and Poplawski also were charged with distribution of toxic chemicals.

 

Also on September 8, 2011, police conducted a raid at the Jamaican Smoke Shop at 40 Easton Avenue in New Brunswick. Some illegal substances and drug paraphernalia were seized, but no arrests were made.

 

In addition, police raided the shop next door, identified as the Jamaican Discount Smoke Shop at 38-A Easton Avenue in New Brunswick, and arrested Ranmanjeet K. Dhillon (DOB 11/13/86) of 610 Sharon Gardens, Woodbridge. She was released on her own recognizance after being charged with possession and distribution of toxic chemicals and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

During the investigations, police seized 6,547 bags, jars and vials containing synthetic marijuana and bath salts. The products were marked for sale at prices ranging from $20 to $30 each.

 

In addition, police seized 2,914 pipes, bongs and hookahs, 193 digital scales, 357 canisters containing nitrous oxide, 13 imitation handguns used to fire blanks, and 46 containers designed to conceal illicit drugs.

 

Police also seized packaging material, grinders, cigars and rolling papers, all identified as products used to prepare and help sell the illicit drugs.

 

The investigation remains active and is continuing.

 

The criminal charges filed against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.9-