|Trinity Standard - Local News
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Drug charges filed in ‘head shop’ raid
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – What was described as a “head shop” was raided last week and shut down by Trinity police following an undercover drug purchase. A store clerk, Matthew Stackpoole, 23, and a store visitor, Joseph Hicks, 24, both of Trinity were arrested on drug and drug paraphernalia charges. Stackpoole was charged with two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor delivery of drug paraphernalia. He was being held under bonds totaling $33,000. Hicks was charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released after posting an $8,000 bond on the possession of controlled substance charge and after paying a $250 fine on the drug paraphernalia complaint. According to Trinity Police Chief Steve Jones, the raid occurred Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Trinity House of Hookah Smoking Accessories shop located off Highway 19 South (Robb Street). The store had been open for less than two weeks, Jones said. An undercover police officer and a cooperating individual went to the store to purchase synthetic cannabinoids -- sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana. The material basically contains herbs that have been chemically enhanced to mimic the effects of marijuana. Such drugs were outlawed by the Texas Legislature effective on Sept. 1. Jones said the officer purchased a packet of a product with a brand name of Zombie Blood and was then sold a pipe in which he could smoke the material. The police chief said that while the sale of the pipe is not illegal if it is intended for use with tobacco, when it is sold knowing that it will be used with an illegal substance, it become drug paraphernalia. While the officer was buying the drugs and pipe, a man visiting in the store identified as Hicks displayed a packet of the synthetic marijuana that he had purchased. After making the undercover drug buy, the officer signaled other officers who moved in. A search warrant was obtained and officers discovered several ounces of the synthetic cannabinoids along with about 10 grams of a synthetic drug called “bath salts” which was also outlawed on Sept. 1. Jones said during the search, a number of pipes designed for use with methamphetamines also were found. He noted that these pipes cannot be used with tobacco and are considered to be illegal drug paraphernalia. “One of the unusual things that happened during this undercover operation is that a known drug dealer walked into the shop while the officer was there,” Jones said. “The man spotted the officer, recognized him and made an immediate about-face, leaving without saying a word.” “When the officer first spotted him, he thought his cover was blown but it worked out alright,” Jones added. The police chief noted the makers of the synthetic drugs go to the trouble of marking their packages as “legal” and “not for human consumption” but said these labels are both untrue and provide no protection against arrest. “They call this stuff ‘legal weed’ but since Sept. 1, it has been against the law to sell or possess it and people need to know that it can be dangerous,” he said. Jones said the investigation was ongoing and that additional charges could be filed against additional suspects in the near future.