JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Three people are facing charges after more than 5,000 packages of illegal drugs were seized from southern Indiana tobacco stores Thursday afternoon.
According to Indiana State Excise police, 5,339 packages of synthetic drug lookalike substances, valued in excess of $50,000, were seized from 10 stores after a result of a two month investigation.
JC's Cigarette Outlet owner Gerald Stith, 63, of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, was charged with possession of a synthetic drug lookalike substance and possession with intent to deliver a synthetic drug lookalike substance.
Officers reported they took 3,216 packages from Stith's stores including 2,114 packages from JC's Cigarette Outlet in Jeffersonville, 513 packages in Clarksville, 392 packages in Charlestown and 197 packages at in Tell City.
Sheree Banet, 57, of Lanesville, Indiana, and Matthew Kaiser, 48, of New Albany, Indiana, who own Smokey's Tobacco Outlet, were both charged with possession of a synthetic drug lookalike substance and possession with intent to deliver a synthetic drug lookalike substance after officers took 2,123 packages from their stores.
Of those 2,123 packages, 375 were seized from Smokey's Tobacco Outlet in Corydon, 408 packages in New Salisbury, 365 in Jeffersonville, 289 in New Albany, 315 in Salem and 371 in Sellersburg.
The substances seized by officers were made illegal in 2013 after legislation authored by State Senator Jim Merritt was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence in May.