• 2 arrested, 1 sought in Volusia synthetic marijuana bust


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Two men were arrested in a Volusia County store on charges of selling synthetic marijuana.
    On Thursday, investigators executed a search warrant at the Ridgewood Food store on North Ridgewood Avenue.
    Officers said they seized nearly 3,000 grams of synthetic drugs, drug paraphernalia and a laptop.
    Officials arrested the store's owner, Juned Jakir, 27, and his Hari Chereddy.
    Investigators said they are still looking for a third person, Venkata Chereddy.
    Daytona Beach Chief of Police Michael Chitwood said he is concerned that convenience stores selling synthetic drugs and other illegal items are hurting neighborhoods in his city.
    Chitwood said buying synthetic drugs at the Ridgewood Food store was easy. He said it was just a matter of putting cash on the counter and making the appropriate gesture.
    Police said the store dealt synthetic drugs worth about $7,500.  
    Debra Gross has owned a business in the same area for nearly 20 years. She said she knows the area is run down and she is glad there is a police presence.
    "It's really becoming a bad area, even though we are functioning pretty well and we thank God for our customers," said Gross.  
    Chitwood said his officers rely on tips to bust the small food stores dealing in illegal items.
    Last week Channel 9 reported on food stamp fraud at one business which led to a state investigation.
    "These things affect the quality of life in the neighborhood, and you have these, for lack of a better term, parasitic store owners that play into that culture," said Chitwood.
    Police said they are also seeing problems with drugs and prostitution in the neighborhood.

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    2 arrested, 1 sought in Volusia synthetic marijuana bust