Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, won a court order on July 11th closing a La Porte Freeway gas station and convenience store because it violated a court order and allowed the sale of Kush, so-called synthetic marijuana.
Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan ordered Moon Mart, 10010 La Porte Freeway, closed immediately and to remain closed for one year. Defendants Moon Mart and Hazim H. Quadus were each directed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties and a fine of $10,000 each. The judge ordered the landowner, CJ Holdings, Inc. to terminate the lease with Moon Mart, change the locks on all doors, and to deny access to the space to Moon Mart, its owners, officers, and employees.
Following an investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force, the Offices of the Harris County Attorney and Attorney General obtained a temporary injunction against Moon Mart on April 20th prohibiting the store from selling synthetic marijuana or any other “illicit synthetic drug.” The court found the temporary injunction was violated on May 3rd and again on May 5th when Moon Mart offered to sell Kush to undercover officers with the HPD Narcotics Unit. After a search of the store, officers seized over 125 packets of synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana, also called “Kush,” is a designer drug, typically manufactured overseas, that is marketed as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all but a dried leafy substance that is sprayed with powerful, added-in hallucinogenic chemicals that are dangerous and highly addictive to the user. It is often marketed to children, and is the second most abused drug by high school students, after marijuana itself.
According to the lawsuit, narcotics officers from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, working undercover, purchased synthetic marijuana in packages labeled “Klimax.” The packages were hidden under the sales counter and the officers had to ask for it by name. The brightly colored packaging states that the product is “potpourri” without disclosing that the contents actually contain dangerous and illegal hallucinogenic chemicals.
“This office is committed to fighting the illegal marketing and sale of these powerful and dangerous drugs to our kids,” said County Attorney Ryan. “We will continue to send the message that businesses that choose to sell these substances will face the consequences, including shutting down their business if necessary.”
The filing is one of a series of civil actions taken by County Attorney Vince Ryan, in partnership with law enforcement and other agencies, using the state’s consumer protection laws to combat businesses that sell synthetic marijuana.