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Three Markets Padlocked for Selling Synthetic Opiates; Thousands of Bottles Seized from Wholesale Locations

March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Three Nashville convenience markets that peddle liquid “relaxation shots” containing a chemical specifically banned by Tennessee law because of its opiate characteristics are now shutdown after Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier declared them to be public nuisances in temporary injunctions and padlocking orders issued today.
         
The markets involved are:          

  • Market Discount Tobacco & Beer, 862 Robinson Road (Mina Yousef listed owner);
  • Madison Discount Tobacco & Beer, 1442 Gallatin Pike North (Jimmy Patel listed owner); and
  • Litton’s Corner Market, 2830 Gallatin Pike (Hanna Anki listed owner).
            
    Ongoing work by undercover officers from the police department’s Specialized Investigations Division and Madison Precinct, in coordination with the District Attorney’s Office, revealed that the three markets sell bottles of product such as “Viva Zen,” “Mr. Smiley Kratom Relaxation Shot,” and “Mr. Smiley Euphoria Party Shot” for about $10 per bottle.  An analysis by the TBI laboratory of the liquids purchased by undercover officers revealed the presence of the chemical Mitragynine, a psychoactive agent that mimics the effects of opiates ranging from sedation to pain reduction to intense euphoria.  Mitragynine has also been found to cause a host of opiate side effects, including nausea, dizziness, constipation, and in the worst cases, hallucinations and delusions.
             
    As the padlocking orders were being executed, detectives received information that two Nashville wholesalers were storing significant quantities of the substance.  Nearly 4,000 bottles were seized this afternoon from Rum Wholesale on Dickerson Pike and FAB Wholesale on Fernco Drive.
             
    The Tennessee General Assembly in 2013 declared Mitragynine and chemicals like it to be illegal and made it a crime to manufacture, distribute or sell any product containing such substances.
             
    “In recent years, certain convenience markets in our city have elected to sell chemicals, made who knows where, that mimic the effects of controlled substances like marijuana and opiate pain killers,” Chief Steve Anderson said.  “We believe these liquids to be inherently dangerous and a threat to the health and safety of this community.  Market owners who choose to deal in these products should see today as yet another indication that we are very serious about keeping these liquids off the streets.”
             
    District Attorney Torry Johnson, whose office filed the public nuisance complaints, said the message being sent to markets today and in prior months couldn’t be clearer.
             
    “The nuisance statute has proven to be a very effective tool in helping combat those businesses that make substances like this available to our community,” Johnson said.  “Any stores or businesses that continue to sell and provide these illegal substances risk being shut down.”
             
    The three markets padlocked today will remain closed until at least March 24th, when their owners are to appear before Judge Dozier for an 11 a.m. hearing.

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Chief Steve Anderson, joined by District Attorney Torry Johnson and State Senator Mae Beavers, said the synthetic opiate liquid sold by the markets poses a danger to the health and safety of the community.
These bottles represent a sample of what undercover detectives bought during their investigation of the three markets.
Market Discount Tobacco & Beer on Robinson Road is one of the markets closed and padlocked today.
Additional boxes of bottles believed to contain the synthetic opiate chemical were seized this afternoon from Rum Wholesale on Dickerson Pike and FAB Wholesale on Fernco Drive.
Additional boxes of bottles believed to contain the synthetic opiate chemical were seized this afternoon from Rum Wholesale on Dickerson Pike and FAB Wholesale on Fernco Drive.
Additional boxes of bottles believed to contain the synthetic opiate chemical were seized this afternoon from Rum Wholesale on Dickerson Pike and FAB Wholesale on Fernco Drive.