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Hagerstown business owner faces drug paraphernalia charges

Items seized from convenience store, gas station

Items seized from convenience store, gas station

January 24, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

A Hagerstown business owner was charged Wednesday with selling drug paraphernalia in his stores.

The Hagerstown Police Department arrested Mohammad Khan, who owns Nadia Convenience Store and Liberty gas station, after executing a search-and-seizure warrant on his two businesses, Sgt. Jim Robison said.

Khan, 39, of 11021 Sani Lane in Hagerstown, was charged with distribution of controlled paraphernalia, two counts of distribution of paraphernalia, two counts of maintaining a common nuisance and possession of controlled paraphernalia, Robison said.

Police allegedly removed "tons" of items from the stores that commonly are used to package drugs or use drugs, Robison said. Selling those items is not illegal unless the seller knows they will be used for illegal drugs, Robison said.

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Khan was arrested Wednesday at Nadia Convenience Store, at 200 W. Franklin St., and Robison said that Khan allegedly sold the paraphernalia to a police informant. He said that charges also are pending against store clerks who sold the items to police informants.

The Hagerstown Police Department began investigating the sale of paraphernalia at Nadia Convenience Store and Liberty gas station, at 717 Frederick St., after serving a warrant at Nadia in December in an unrelated investigation. At that time, a federal search-and-seizure warrant was served at Nadia Convenience Store after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General into alleged illegal food stamp transactions at the store, The Herald-Mail has reported.

While serving that warrant, Robison said police saw paraphernalia commonly used for packaging and use of drugs was being sold behind the counter and in a display cabinet. Police informants on several occasions went into Nadia Convenience Store and the Liberty gas station to purchase the paraphernalia.

On Wednesday, Robison said police filled a van with at least 30,000 small baggies, hundreds of smoking devices, copper mesh commonly used to filter crack cocaine, scales and other items.

Robison said that Nadia Convenience Store is in an area frequented by drug dealers and drug users. He alleged it is likely that many of them were buying packaging materials for drugs and items associated with drug use from the store.

"Anytime we can make it harder on the drug dealer and the drug abuser, it's better for (the police)," Robison said.

Police are continuing to investigate the sale of paraphernalia at other Hagerstown businesses, he said.

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