OCEAN CITY — Four men were arrested for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana after two Boardwalk stores were raided last weekend.
Around 7:30 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police narcotics officers, OCPD patrol officers, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Criminal Enforcement Team and investigators for the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office served search and seizure warrants on two Boardwalk businesses — Cool Topics and New York, New York.
The stores were raided after employees at the two establishments allegedly sold synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia to undercover OCPD narcotics officers on different occasions.
According to police reports, employees at the two raided stores told undercover narcotics officers that the products would get them high, instructed them on how to get high, what devices to use to smoke the synthetic drugs and marijuana, and even how long the anticipated high would last. During the raids last Friday, law enforcement officials seized over 500 bags of suspected synthetic marijuana and hundreds of other pieces of drug paraphernalia along with a computer.
Last year, the town of Ocean City passed an ordinance banning the sale and possession of various types of synthetic forms of marijuana such as K2 and bath salts, for example, after passing a ban on the similar substance Salvia in 2010 after the prevalence of the cannabimimetic and hallucinogenic agents spiked in the resort area.
Arrested during the raids on the Boardwalk stores last Friday were David Shalom Lougasi, 52, of Berlin; Nitzahn Lougasi, 27, of Ocean City; Teodras Masresha Kassa, 22, of Ocean City; and Haileleul Mulugeta, 21, of Silver Spring, Md.
Each was charged with distribution of drug paraphernalia under Maryland state law and numerous violations of Ocean City ordinances including the ban on the sale and distribution of synthetic drugs, distribution of the hallucinogenic agent, failing to attach a list of ingredients to a synthetic drug and distribution of any substance intended to have physical or psychological effects.
David Lougasi, Nitzahn Lougasi and Kassa were each taken before a District Court Commissioner and were later released on their own recognizance.
Mulugeta was being held pending an appearance before a District Court Commissioner.
The investigation and subsequent raid is part of a continuing effort by the OCPD to keep illegal and dangerous substances out of Ocean City and the department will continue to perform compliance checks and enforcement throughout the summer.