April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Task force head: Boutique owners had warehouse of synthetic marijuana

The owners of Twilight Boutique on Abbe Road in Elyria had been storing synthetic marijuana in a Liverpool Township warehouse, officials said. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

The owners of Twilight Boutique on Abbe Road in Elyria had been storing synthetic marijuana in a Liverpool Township warehouse, officials said. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

The owners of a Brunswick head shop had been storing synthetic marijuana in a warehouse in Liverpool Township, Drug Enforcement agents said Thursday.

Sean and Sherry Lightner, both 38, of Grafton Township, were indicted Dec. 12 on federal charges for allegedly purchasing and selling thousands of dollars of illegal synthetic marijuana at their Twilight Boutique stores around Northeast Ohio, including one in Elyria. The pair were indicted following a months-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, local drug enforcement bureaus and number of area law enforcement agencies.

On Thursday, Director Gary Hubbard of the Medina County Drug Task Force said his agency worked with the DEA to seize 17,000 packages of synthetic marijuana on June 26 from a warehouse owned by the Lightners in Liverpool Township. He said the packets were kept with other inventory like smoking pipes.

The packets, marketed by the Lightners as potpourri and labeled “not fit for human consumption,” contained what drug agents say is synthetic marijuana. He said the seizure at the warehouse, coupled with search warrants executed at the stores owned by Lightner and their home, helped build a case for the indictments handed down last week.

“We executed the search warrant, and it was a good find,” Hubbard said. “17,000 packages of this is equal to 42,000 grams, so it was a good seizure.”

According to the Dec. 12 indictment, the Lightners tried to hide the fact they were selling synthetic marijuana by keeping the price list out of view and instructing employees not to sell the drugs and pipes for smoking in the same transaction.

That was done in “an effort to conceal that the synthetic cannabinoids were meant for human consumption and to thwart law enforcement,” the indictment stated.

Prosecutors said the Lightners used suppliers identified as Mark Picard of Whittier, Calif., and Nathan Albright of Glendale, Ariz., who face drug and money laundering charges in the case.

After purchasing the synthetic marijuana, the Lightners marked the cost up about 300 percent before selling them to the public, the indictment said.

With their illicit proceeds, the indictment said, the Lightners purchased numerous vehicles, including a 2005 Dodge Magnum, a 2013 Dodge Journey and a 2013 Dodge Ram 350. They also bought a boat and a trailer.

Most of those purchases were made with cash or cashier’s checks and the indictment said the Lightners bought their Neff Road home in Grafton Township, with $242,834 in cashier’s checks in August 2012.

Prosecutors want the Lightners to forfeit the vehicles, boat and home and more than $225,000 in cash seized as part of the investigation.

Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

  • tickmeoff

    Once again we follow here in Ohio, We never lead! We came late to the party with the Lottery,
    and then the Casinos. Just legalize the Marijuana and roll back the sales tax.
    The powers that be will be taken care of, their salaries and pensions kept intact
    to go after the truly harmful drugs, such as Cocaine, Meth and Heroin. Prohibition
    is nothing more than a jobs program and for the people who still believe that
    the drug war is effective; the bureaucracy will still be there. That false
    security will still be there for those who believe that the drug war is
    effective. Face it, if the drug war was
    a business, the bloated ineffective bureaucracy would have been long gone. When you hear drug war, I think behind the
    times thinking, and banging your head against a wall, thinking next time you
    will get a different result.

    • jz

      This stuff would not exist if marihuana were legalized decades ago. Who would drink lousy moonshine since you can purchase Crown royal that is regulated, taxed and inspected. How can we even open for discussion ending the failed drug war and putting all drugs in the hands of the medical community, where they would be inspected and regulated also, if we can,t even legalize marihuana? This has nothing to do with encouraging the use of heroin, crack, etc. it just has to do with a more sensible policy aimed at overall harm reduction, not just for addicts but for everyone. There is no perfect world but these cowardly politicians and bullheaded bureucrats will continue until more citizens speak out like yourself tickmeoff.

    • Dru Sexton

      In regards to the sales tax hike: Call me crazy, or maybe this was just a one time thing. Anyhow I recently received a gift from my wife from Best Buy. I already had the item, so I decided to exchange it for an item of equal value (Or so I thought). Upon my exchange the clerk said to me you have .15 cents change coming back. She said somehow the sales tax you paid online was more than we charge in store. So that was the reason for my credit balance. Either there was miscommunication, I am not understanding the internet sales tax,or We the People are getting robbed…

  • mixermack

    who are we at war with? ourselves?