Convenience store selling drug paraphernalia - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Convenience store selling drug paraphernalia


by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- Crack pipes and brillo -- the tools a crack cocaine addict uses to get high.  Selling them -- the same kind of place you might visit to get your Sunday paper and a gallon of milk - your local gas station.

KWWL learned about suspicious activity at the BP gas station in Cedar Rapids at the corner of 1st avenue and 29th street Northeast.

The concern: customers purchasing these two items: glass or love roses and brillo pads.

Separately, they appear rather innocuous. But together, they are used to smoke crack.  So we went to the bp to find out if they sold the items in question. With our camera rolling, we talked to owner Monty Singh.

Bryan - "Do you sell any glass roses here?"

Singh- "We don't sell any glass roses here."

I asked again.

Bryan - "it's about the size of a pen and has a glass rose inside of it."

Singh -  "I've seen those, but i haven't sold any of that stuff."

That's not what we found a day earlier when we sent someone in undercover wired with a microphone.

Customer - "can i get a glass rose and a brillo?"

Clerk - "sure."

The clerk then went behind the counter to retrieve the rose.

Clerk - "Just one?"

Customer - "yeah, that's great."

The clerk then retrieved a brillo pad, also under the counter. He asked a co-worker for the priece. Moments later, our undercover customer walked out with both items for less than three dollars. 

We shared the tape with police.

Hamblin - "was it a rose in a glass?"

Bryan - "yep."

Sgt. Hamblin - "those would be illegal. That is drug paraphernalia."

Remember what Singh told me Wednesday:

Singh - "i've seen those, but i haven't sold any of that stuff."

Seconds after hearing that, I spotted exactly what he said they didn't sell.

Bryan - "right there where it says love roses in the orange box."

Singh - "These are gifts."

Bryan - "yeah, that's what i was referring to."

Singh - "Okay, these are gifts. I didn't know you were talking about these kinds of things. These are gifts people buy if they want to give somebody something."

Bryan - "Do you understand that those sold with brillo pads, people use those to smoke crack?"

Singh - "I don't remember anybody bought those with the brillo pad."

Singh said he was out of brillo pads in his store and that when in stock, they are not sold behind the counter, again contradicting what our undercover customer witnessed. Sergeant Hamblin says police plan to check it out.

Sgt. Hamblin - "the owner may have bought 'em with the intent that this was going to be purchased by people for a loved one, but in reality, no, it's not."

Sgt. Hamblin says the narcotics division will be making a visit to this BP soon.

She says selling the glass rose and brillo pads falls in violation of city code defining drug paraphernalia.

After our investigation, the owner of the BP contacted his attourney, who contacted KWWL.  We're told through his attourney, Singh says he was unaware of what these glass roses were used for and he plans to cooperate with police.

Online Reporter:  Bryan Goettel

Online Producer:  Dani Blecha

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