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Police raid Topping smoke shop

Law enforcement agents were seen coming and going at Slipknots Trading and Tobacco in Topping on Tuesday. Police also used yellow crime scene tape to cordon off the area around Slipknots Hookah Lounge, which is located next door. More details will appear in next week’s Sentinel.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies descended on the Slipknots Trading and Tobacco store on Route 3 in Topping Tuesday morning.

More than 50 law enforcement agents, including some who covered part of their faces, apparently executed a search warrant at the store and at The Wing Joint, which is across Route 3. A federal K-9 unit also was at the scene.

Police were tight-lipped about what appeared to be a raid. Agents carried several empty boxes into the store, which neighbors and some customers allege sold synthetic drugs that are commonly known as “Bath Salts.” These substances have been sold openly and legally because manufacturers could change the ingredients slightly to skirt the law. However, federal law makes drugs illegal that are “analogues” and closely resemble the illegal formula.

Jubilant neighbors watched from across Route 3 at the apparent shutting down of the business.

Jennifer Randall, a neighbor, said the business sold her synthetic drugs, including “Spice,” which mimics the effect of marijuana.

The mother of three said that once she was addicted to Spice she spent more than $300 a week to get it. “I was in a comatose world with my eyes open,” she said.

Randall, 33, said she kept the pipe next to her bed and would awake hourly to smoke more Spice.

Her husband Scott said he found her passed out in a chair with the Spice pipe in her mouth. “It’s been a nightmare,” he said.

J. Randall quit for about 10 days but was tempted and took “one more hit.” She blacked out and ended up in substance abuse rehabilitation. “It’s still a mental game. Every day is hard,” she said.

She tried drugs called Sonic Cherry and Brain Freeze. She said the packets the drugs came in were labeled “not for human consumption.” She noted that the sellers “don’t tell you what to do with it. I’m deathly afraid of it.”

The worst drug
Randy Campbell of Topping wept at the scene and applauded the police action. “This is the worst drug and the most violent drug I’ve seen in my life, and there are not many that I haven’t done,” he said.

“The first drag (of Spice) I took, I knew this would annihilate people. It was the worst thing I had ever done,” said Campbell.

Lisa Croxton Campbell said she believes Spice was a factor in the death of her father, Melvin Croxton of Deltaville, who died at age 53 in September, 2013. “This (raid) is for my father,” she said. “I’m so ecstatic!”

Lisa Campbell said she had smoked Spice for only a week, but went through devastating withdrawals when she stopped. “I felt like poison was coming out of me.” She ended up in the emergency room with seizures.

Also on Tuesday, a number of police and agents were seen coming and going at a house on the east side of Grey’s Point Road (Route 3) and north of the Topping Post Office.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 02.26.2014

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