Eastern Iowa businesses suing after synthetic raid
Written by Nikki Newbrough, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Two Eastern Iowa business owners say they want their money returned after narcotic agents searched their homes and businesses for synthetic drugs.
The drug search was during the nationwide synthetic drug sweep, Project Synergy, back in June.
Two of the stores searched during that nationwide sweep were Five Star Snacks in Waterloo and YR Dollar Store in Cedar Rapids. Both have filed federal lawsuits to get thousands of dollars back that was seized.
Back in February, KWWL investigated how easy it was to get synthetic drugs.
KWWL sent a self-admitted drug addict to Five Star Snacks on Fletcher Avenue in Waterloo. After a short while, he came out with "Blue," a synthetic drug.
According to police, in four different situations, including three times at the store, Earl Ramos, also known as EJ, sold synthetic drugs to an undercover informant.
On June 26th, authorities issued a search warrant for the store and the home of Muhammad Chaudhry, the store's owner. They say Ramos was also living in Chaudry's home.
Authorities confiscated a combined 10,071.5 grams of synthetic drugs.
That includes 207.3 grams of "White Angel," 102.7 grams of "Blue," 251.7 grams of "Happy Devil" and 315.1 grams of "Diablo."
Law enforcement confiscated a total of $14,156 found in the store, Ramos' vehicle and the home.
Ramos told police the money was from or involved in the sale of synthetic drugs.
According to court documents, Chaundry, the owner of Five Star Snacks, disagrees and says that money should be returned to him.
The owners of the YR Dollar Store in Cedar Rapids have also brought a lawsuit against the government.
They are asking for more than $84,000 taken from their home and business during the search.
On the same day, the store was also searched, along with the home of Fawad and Jawad Nawaz, the owners of the store.
Authorities took a combined 16,726.1 grams of synthetic drugs. That includes 1,221.2 grams of "Bizarro" packets, 1,282.7 grams of "Insane" packets, 1,147 grams of "Angry Birds Space" packets.
Agents also seized $84,741 hidden under mattress in one of the home's bedrooms. When authorities asked why the money was stored this way, Nawaz did not respond.
According to court documents, the owners are asking for that money back.
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