BRADENTON, FL-- When you think of a drug dealer, you might think of someone standing on a street corner in a seedy part of town. But Manatee County Sheriff's deputies say a Bradenton store owner sold them in plain view right on the shelf.
The sign for the Speedy's Foodmart, off 57 Ave East, in Bradenton, list wine, castigate and groceries as some of the items offered inside. But, an undercover investigation by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office found the store was selling a lot more. According to reports Speedy's Foodmart also sold what deputies believe is synthetic marijuana.
"He's got it right up there like the newport cigarettes. Like anything else you can actually see it," said Robert Williams, a regular customer at the Foodmart. Williams, says the products in question were on display by the stores cash register. Many refer to them as K-2, spice, or even incense. In 2012 state lawmakers passed the Florida Comprehensive Abuse Prevention and Control Act, banning the sale of the product. And, although Speedy's Food mart owners wouldn't go on camera, he did tell us he was unaware that the packages were illegal and his customers believe him.
"He had it on display so when you walk into the store you could actually see it. So if he thought it was illegal he'd be trying to hide it," added Williams.
In addition many say since the store is located right next door to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office substation station knowingly selling an illegal products would not have been the smartest move.
"Just the other day there was two police officers that walked in and they sat right there and talked about the stuff," said customer Benny Steger.
While conducting their search warrant investigators founds 231 packages of synthetic marijuana. Which the store owners says weighted about two pounds. And, according to reports it has an estimated value of about $3500.
"Why is the distributor able to sell it to him. If its illegal why can they sell it to him and he can't sell it to customers," added Steger.
Manatee County Sheriff's Office says they will test the items seized and charges may be pending.