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Austin Head Shop Chain Implicated In Synthetic Marijuana Bust
Updated: Thursday, June 5 2014, 06:33 PM CDT
Federal agents have busted a suspected synthetic marijuana distribution ring -- and a head shop with two Austin locations has been implicated, according to court documents.
Federal documents say The Gas Pipe head shop chain is at the center of the ring.
According to the documents, DEA agents have seized millions of dollars from bank accounts, cars, even paintings, all supposedly gained by the sale and distribution of so-called K2, or spice.
According to the complaint, beginning in 2010 the DEA began to see a dramatic rise in the use of substances known as K2.
It claims the operation was started in 2010 by a drug trafficking group led by Lawrence Shahwan, who owned and operated Sacred Sun Botanicals in the Dallas area.
It says he would use material to make and distribute the synthetics drugs under 21 different names including Assassin Revolution, Fire Shot, and YOLO.
The complaint alleges the synthetic marijuana was then sold at many head shops -- and at The Gas Pipe locations across the state. The store has two locations in Austin.
It says in 2013 Shahwan entered into an exclusive contract with The Gas Pipe.
While Shahwan has been was arrested The Gas Pipe owner Jerry Shutlz is not being accused of any crimes. But authorities have started to seize property with what they called illegal funds.
We did try to contact two of the stores here in Austin but no one has responded.
Read the forfeiture complaint here: http://www.keyetv.com/images/Forfeiture Complaint 3_14cv2037.pdf.
We will update this story as we learn more.