Aurora store owners named in lawsuit for selling synthetic drug
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers sued two Aurora convenience store owners for selling the drug Spice on Jan. 21, 2014. (Photo: Colo. Attorney General's Office)
AURORA, Colo. — Colorado Attorney General Jon Suthers announced Tuesday that his office has filed a civil lawsuit against an Aurora convenience mart for selling a synthetic drug known as Spice, or Black Mamba.
According to prosecutors, Rhamatollah Gharmari, 28, and Paymon Eliott Gharmari, 61, owned and operated Paymon’s Market, Inc. in Aurora, where they allegedly sold Spice products that neglected to warn consumers the items contained dangerous and illegal synthetic cannabinoids.
The labeling on the products made deceptive claims like “no banned chemicals,” “it’s legal,” “100% cannabinoid-free” and “DEA-compliant,” said a statement sent from the attorney general on Tuesday.
“Nationally, eight percent of high-school seniors say they have used some type of so-called synthetic marijuana in the last year,” said Suthers. “Paymon marketed these spice products as safe and legal when, in fact, they are very dangerous as well as illegal.”
A joint undercover investigation conducted by the Aurora Police Department and Colorado Department of Revenue in July 2013 resulted in the removal of 1,181 packages of products containing Spice including Crazy Monkey, Mad Monkey, Sexy Monkey and iBlown — unlabeled Spice products were also removed from the store.
Last fall, FOX31 Denver investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat approached owner Ray Ghamari about selling Spice in his store.
Ghamari responded, “So, what about the spice?” and denied selling the illegal synthetic drug, even after FOX31 Denver hidden cameras caught his clerk selling Spice.
“Are you denying that you sold spice?” Hemmat asked Ghamari.
“We are not denying, we are talking, we don’t have nothing to talk about,” he said.
Since the investigation on Spice aired in September 2013, FOX31 Denver learned Aurora police were also investigating Paymon’s Market for selling the synthetic drug over the counter.
According to court documents, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation tested samples of the Spice products purchased by undercover Aurora police officers and determined some of it contained chemicals that are banned under state law.
The Ghamaris could face a $2,000 to $10,000 fine for every sale of Spice. They are scheduled to appear in court in February.
The state of Colorado has filed lawsuits against two stores since the FOX31 Denver Spice investigation. The owner of O’s Pipes and Tobacco, located at 8300 East Colfax Avenue, was charged in October with possession and intent to distribute synthetic drugs.