Harrisburg police have announced criminal charges against seven people accused of selling synthetic marijuana at five city stores.
Police said the charges stemmed from searches throughout the month, and followed the passage of legislation broadening Pennsylvania's synthetic drug ban.
Authorities said they have been investigating the sale of synthetic marijuana in Harrisburg for well over a year and have seized illegal substances, but prosecutions before the change in the law were difficult due to the ever-changing chemical compounds used to make the drugs.
Police said they seized 25 packets of synthetic marijuana and more than $2,500 in cash during a search of Blays Grocery Store, at 2050 State Street.
The owner, 39-year-old Coffie Blay of Harrisburg, was charged with 2 counts of possession with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and selling cigarettes out of their packaging.
More than 650 packets of synthetic marijuana were seized at Hajmas Store locations at 2200 N. 6th Street and 1951 Derry Street, police said.
In each incident, 33-year-old Masawudu Garcia of Harrisburg was charged with delivery of synthetic marijuana, possession with intent to deliver, and conspiracy.
At the Derry Street location, where 621 packets of the drug were confiscated, police said they additionally arrested 27-year-old Shanea House and 24-year-old Cachet House, both of Harrisburg, for conspiracy and delivery.
Cachet House was also charged with obstruction and resisting arrest for refusing to allow officers behind the store counter, police said.
At Redd's All Nighter Store, at 1852 North Street, police said they seized 30 bags and 49 vials of synthetic marijuana, along with marijuana grinders and digital scales, and charged 40-year-old Dounde Diallo of Lemoyne with delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
At Anna's Market, at 1544 Walnut Street, police said they found 200 bags of synthetic marijuana and filed drug charges against 32-year-old Anna Orosco and 44-year-old Moumar Diallo, both of Harrisburg.
The total value of drugs seized from the five stores topped $55,000.
Authorities said that the stores were averaging sales of
200 to 300 packets of synthetic marijuana
They added that they are still interviewing people and gathering more