(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, July 11, 2014 2:36 PM
Seven businesses tied to recent synthetic urine busts by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office were stripped of their liquor licenses for 30 days during Thursday’s Lake Charles Alcohol Review Board meeting.
The businesses are More Four Less No. 2, at 1310 N. Martin Luther King Highway; Food Post at 425 N. Martin Luther King Highway; Tobacco Place at 2027 N. Martin Luther King Highway; Super Food Mart at 1539 N. Martin Luther King Highway; Smokers Paradise and Spirits No. 1 at 1014 Martin Luther King Highway; Smokers Express at 3501 Gerstner Memorial Drive; and Raceway No. 6946 at 1213 N. Martin Luther King Highway.
Assistant District Attorney Brett Gaspard told the board that the whole process began with work done by the Sheriff’s Office.
“Vice with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted some undercover buys at a couple of stores in Moss Bluff and Lake Charles of synthetic urine,” he said. “Basically synthetic urine is outlawed in Louisiana statutes. It falls underneath any devices or anything that’s used to falsify a drug screen.”
Gaspard said there is a misconception that selling the products doesn’t really have harmful effects on the community.
“Some of the people have said, ‘Well, these are just misdemeanor crimes,’ ” Gaspard said. “We know for a fact through statements and investigations that people that are working at the plants are engaging in purchasing synthetic urine with the purpose of passing drug screens. We feel that presents a pretty big danger to this community and the parish.”
Most of the owners in attendance said they didn’t know the synthetic urine was being used to cheat drug tests. Several said that only one or two such items had been sold at their location before they learned the products were illegal. A few others said they weren’t formally notified that the products were illegal, despite getting the synthetic urine items from reputable wholesalers. Others said losing their liquor license could jeopardize their business.
Board member Reggie Landry said the owners knew the products were illegal and chose to sell them anyway.
“The store owner, he could hire a person who missed an alcohol check and sold liquor to a 17-year-old. Even though it’s his business, that could happen and it could be a mistake,” Landry said. “This is more deliberate where you’re doing this knowing it’s in violation.”
One store owner tried to explain to the council that the only reason the products were being sold in his store was because he thought it was a legal way for people to “clean their systems.”
“They could be saying, ‘I want heroin to clean my system,’ but you’re not going to be selling heroin in your store because you know it’s illegal,” Landry told the store owner.
Posted By: I.P. On: 7/15/2014
I agree Dee
Posted By: Dee On: 7/12/2014
Does 'natural' pee exist anywhere along N. Martin Luther King Highway? Anyone who claims to not know why customers would purchase synthetic urine should be locked up.