'Spice' bust leads to arrests in Clearwater - WFLA News Channel 8

'Spice' bust leads to arrests in Clearwater

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CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Clearwater police say they've made the largest synthetic marijuana bust in the city's history.  Officers took four men into custody.

"More than 18,000 packages of synthetic marijuana was seized from the Hillcrest Store alone, with an estimated street value of $300,0000," officials said.

The men under arrest have been identified as Christopher Dolu, Jean Bitar, Tarak Allababidi, and Remon Saber Aziz Farg.

Police say Dolu and Farg worked at the Wanna Save store at 1362 Cleveland St. in Clearwater, and Bitar worked at Danny's Tobacco Shop at 1621 Gulf to Bay Blvd.   

Officers also raided the Sonic Store on South Missouri Avenue, where Allababidi worked, and the Hillcrest Store on Gulf to Bay Boulevard.  At the Hillcrest Store, officers seized 49 bags of evidence as well as several weapons. They detained two workers at that store, but didn't arrest them.

Clearwater Police spokesman Rob Shaw says the bust is a culmination of months of undercover buys and operations.  

"We've been doing this for about a year now," said Shaw.  "Originally we served all of these stores notices that it was no longer going to be legal to sell this kind of stuff on the streets and what we've done is continue to monitor that over time."

Bill Grant runs a business adjacent to the Wanna Save store.  He says he sees people loitering around the store from time to time.  He says he's pleased the police are cracking down on this illegal activity.  

"It's good for everybody," said Grant.  "All the homeowners in the area and so forth. They're trying to put a development over here on Drew Street and it's going to clean up the area if they get that kind of stuff out of the area."

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