April 24, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria police shutter downtown business for alleged illegal activities

IMT Wireless

Police executed a search warrant at IMT Wireless, 410 Broad St., Thursday evening. CHELSEA MILLER/CHRONICLE

By Anna Merriman and Chelsea Miller
The Chronicle-Telegram

ELYRIA — At around 6 p.m. Thursday, a sign reading, “Closed temporarily” was taped to the door of former Shopway operator Mustafa Thaer’s second business venture, IMT Wireless.

Again, the reason for closing was related to alleged illegal activities at the store.

Shopway hearing 4.jpg

Mustafa Thaer

Ernest Anderson

Ernest Anderson

Around 4:20 p.m.Thursday, police executed a search warrant at IMT Wireless, 410 Broad St., and charged Thaer, 28, with counterfeiting, gambling, three counts of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. His employee, Ernest Anderson, 52, was charged with trafficking marijuana, two counts of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia after the search.

Thaer opened IMT Wireless in July after Shopway Food Mart on Lake Avenue and Furnace Street was closed for illegal activity.

However, after receiving complaints about gambling and counterfeit clothing sales at IMT Wireless, police launched a month-long investigation into the store, according to Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino. During the search, police called the city Building Department for building code violations. The building has been closed until repairs are finished, according to a news release.

During the search, police found items associated with drugs and drug trafficking at the store, Costantino said. Police also searched two customers in the store and issued both men drug-related charges.

Damon Battles, 33, was issued an outstanding warrant for trafficking crack cocaine. Jeremy Gibson, 33, was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

This signing was hanging on the door of IMT Wireless Thursday.

This signing was hanging on the door of IMT Wireless Thursday.

This is the second time Thaer has been charged for illegal activity at one of his stores. A police raid of Shopway in April allegedly uncovered food stamp fraud and illegal drug sales. Thaer is facing charges of selling spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, at that business.

The case against Thaer and former Shopway employee Hesham Ayyad is going through the court system. Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi declared Shopway a nuisance in May, issuing a temporary restraining order against the business.

Since IMT Wireless’s opening, Thaer has been using Facebook to direct former Shopway customers to the new location and, despite complaints from some residents about Shopway, Thaer’s attorney said there was nothing prohibiting Thaer from opening a new business.

In August, Costantino said the department had received no complaints about IMT Wireless, and he said the only concern police had was that Thaer operate the business in a “lawful and respectful way.”

Thaer was being held at Lorain County Jail on $1 million dollar bond for the charges at IMT Wireless.

Anderson and Battles were being held at Lorain County Jail on $50,000 bonds.

Gibson was released on a personal summons.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.
 
Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Guest

    The search warrant issued …… Ok, but what was the reasoning for them searching customers? Would they have searched them had they been standing down the street on the sidewalk? Sounds like issues of law to me…. I may be wrong but were they suspected of a crime at the time? Being a customer in the store the warrant was for… I would not consent to a search.

    • Pablo Jones

      I’d be willing to bet they were asked to be searched and they agreed. It’s on them.

      • Guest

        Would you consent to a search knowing you had contraband on you? Umm probably not.

        • Pablo Jones

          Would I? No. Would a bunch of idiots that never paid attention in school? Most likely.

        • stop ur whining

          if a cop asks to search you and you decline they then will tell you that, it is your right, but they will call a K-9 unit, in this case, it was probably already on the scene.
          K-9 arrives, they find it, you go to jail.

    • Phil Blank

      Because if you don’t tell them who you are or submit to a search, they will charge you with something else that they decided to make-up.
      Yours and our 4th and 5th amendment rights are no longer working for any of us.

    • Guest

      Maybe they were ask if they could be searched and consented

  • Tammy Cottrell

    If i was the mayor i would kick him out of Elyria for good

    • Triston Henderson

      Do you really think a mayor has the power to kick someone out of a city? Loool.

    • Thomas Woods

      I was thinking deportation myself especially abusing the federal food stamp program that was caught on camera.

  • Bill

    I’m glad to see the EPD go after this idiot again but a 1 million dollar bond when you have a dad who plead guilty to assault and abuse of his 3 1/2 month son and is free on a signature bond while facing 8 years in prison. Makes no sense.

    • Robin Hood

      Maybe it has something to do with him bragging that he’s a millionaire to the wrong people to many times. Ever think of that ?

  • MZee

    sadly, the sign is probably correct.

  • Bob Sweatt

    HA HA HA HA HA HA. Well duh. Who didn’t see this coming.

    Now waiting for all the people who were supporting these fool when the Shopway got closed down.

  • Robin Hood

    Personally, I can’t wait for a lot of the downtown businesses to close. All it would take is a Dollar Store, a Subway sandwich shop, and a phone store that doesn’t have roaches running under the tiles, deli counters, and coolers when they open up in the morning…cough, cough, Haninis, cough.

  • willlam

    This “drug store” looks suspect with all those posters and signs hiding the illegal stuff going on behind them. This joint looks like it would be right at home in Lorain or Cle. The “place” down the street looks just as shady!!

  • donmega

    They raided my first store they wouldnt never think about raiding my second store-Da.

    • Robin Hood

      I can see by you not telling anyone or advertising your store name, you must be very confident. What’s the matter…scared of the auditor ?

      • Mark B

        Sarcasm

  • Film the Police

    The E.P.D. is full of idiots that like to abuse power and none of them have dash cams in their cruisers. I think every citizen should know that you have a right to film the police for your own protection or for other parties protection. Whenever you are stopped, pull out your phone and record everything. Never under any circumstances consent to any searches. Never resist or they will beat you up. Understand your rights and let the cops know you do. Not all cops are bad, most are. Hold them accountable.

    • stop ur whining

      are u referring to this situation or in general? as for consenting to a search. Although it is your right to decline, all a cop needs is probable cause. does a cop have more power than the average citizen? yes, for the sole reason that they put their life on the line every day. Do some police abuse it, yes of course they do. but those instances are fewer and farther between than you think.

  • Bill

    “Around 4:20 p.m.Thursday ”
    4:20 huh…..

    • Bob Sweatt

      LOL. I didn’t even put two and two together. That is funny. LOL

    • Zen Grouch

      Good Candy Bar!

      • willlam

        You wouldnt actually eat that,would you? What are you 12 yrs.old?

        • Zen Grouch

          Why not? Are you one of those guys who gets high then drills holes in his head to set the angry voices free?

          • Bill

            Can you ship me some? Lol

          • Zen Grouch

            Sorry, don’t want to break the law with this stuff…

            Hard to believe it’s legal.

          • Bill

            Just noticed how many grams are in the bar. Jeez,,,,,,

          • Zen Grouch

            First time I bought the candy the lady told me to not eat more than one piece. And brother… was she ever right!

            Just got back from the shop about a half hour ago, with a couple more candy bars and a bag o’ buds called Blue Dream.

            This is the way is should be.