Uni-Mart owners headed to trial for bath salts sales|
Thursday, October 18, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
Two defendants accused of selling illegal bath salts at convenience stores in Hyde and Curwensville waived their right to preliminary hearings before Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling at yesterday's session of Centralized Court held at the Clearfield County Jail.
Rupinder Kaur, 43, of Clearfield and Gurpreet Singh, 42, of Clearfield are each charged in two cases.
The first case they are charged with criminal conspiracy/manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance; manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; intentional possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance by a person not registered.
In the second cases they are charged with criminal conspiracy/manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance; two counts of manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; intentional possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance by a person not registered.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the state police Troop C Vice Unit were informed that the Uni-Mart stores in Hyde and Curwensville were selling and distributing synthetic marijuana, also referred to as K2. The synthetic marijuana was reportedly being sold under the names of "Atomic Bomb," "Rush" and "Radio Active."
On Nov. 1, 2011, an undercover state trooper entered the Hyde Uni-Mart at 11:18 a.m. Two females were working behind the counter, one of which was Kaur. The trooper was able to purchase three grams of "Radio Active" from Kaur. It was in silver packages and the trooper paid $36 for it.
At 11:29 a.m., the undercover state trooper entered the Curwensville Uni-Mart and asked to purchase "Rush" from Singh, who was working behind the counter.
Singh said they were out of "Rush" but pointed to a package of "Atomic Bomb" and asked if he had ever tried it. The trooper said he had not and Singh replied it was "good stuff."
The trooper purchased the package for $36 and left the store.
The packages were submitted to the state police Erie Regional Crime Lab for analysis. The lab determined the substance contained synthetic cannabinoids (marijuana.)
On Nov. 7, Magisterial District Justice Richard Ireland granted a search warrant and at 11:55 a.m. state troopers to searched the store and seized 249 marked packages of suspected synthetic marijuana, 45 smoking devices and two metal grinders.
Forty-three items that were tested were found to have synthetic marijuana with a total weight of 102 grams.
On March 5, state police interviewed Richard L. Von Gunden at the Hyde Uni-Mart. During the interview he told police he worked at the Uni-Mart for about a year. The synthetic marijuana was placed out on a shelf by owners Kaur and her husband, Singh.
He said they would leave an inventory sheet on the counter where employees were to record the amount of synthetic marijuana they sold every day.
He said employees never stocked the shelves with synthetic marijuana and never saw the owners ordering it.
He also said when the new law went into affect on Aug. 21, 2011, they pulled all the synthetic marijuana from the shelves and restocked the shelves with brand new synthetic marijuana that was packaged differently. He said the employees were told the new products were legal.
He said when they sold the synthetic marijuana it was rung up in the cash register as "miscellaneous items."
Von Gunden said they would ask for ID when selling it to customers and said most were 18 years old to their early 20s. He said customers would usually ask for it as either "K2" or by its brand name such as "Atomic Rush."
Kaur and Singh are out on $5,000 unsecured bail on each case ($10,000.)
In other cases, a Clearfield teen accused of stealing a car and setting it on fire waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Ireland.
Richard M. Oswalt, 19, is charged with theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; arson, criminal mischief; drivers required to be licensed.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Sept. 5, Clearfield Borough police responded to a Dorey Street residence for a report of a stolen car, a Kia Spectra. The car, valued at $4,000, was owned by Charlotte Charles and her son Ryan Charles. They said the car was parked in front of their residence and was on a jack and it was seen accelerating rapidly, turned left on Woodland Road toward Denny's Beer Barrel Pub.
On Sept. 9, Lawrence Township Police responded to a vehicle fire at the borough's compost site on Twenty-first Street.
The vehicle was determined to be the stolen Kia. Two gasoline cans were found in close proximity to the vehicle.
On Sept. 21, while on patrol Clearfield Borough Police Officers Kem Parada and Sgt. Greg Neeper spotted a red van being driven by Jollene Rabenstein, who police knew did not have a valid driver's license, and initiated a stop in the parking lot of Fox's Pizza Den.
When Neeper approached the vehicle he said he noticed the driver switched positions with a female passenger. Neeper asked Rabenstein if she had a driver's license and she replied she did not.
The van is registered to a Robert J. Gavlock of Frenchville who is the boyfriend of Rabenstein.
Permission was granted to search the van and a piece of a windshield with an inspection sticker was found in the pocket of the front passenger door. State Department of Transportation records showed that the inspection sticker was from the stolen Kia.
Police asked Rabenstein about the sticker and she said she didn't know it was in there, but said Robert Gavlock or his nephew Michael Gavlock might have placed it there.
On Oct. 4, police interviewed Robert Gavlock; he said he was parked at the borough dumpsite on Twenty-first Street with his nephew Michael Gavlock when Oswalt drove up. He said Oswalt was doing donuts with the vehicle when it became stuck in an embankment. He said a hatchet was used to remove the inspection sticker from the windshield.
On Oct. 5, police interviewed Oswalt. Oswalt said he was in the East End area when he noticed a vehicle with its trunk open. As he approached the vehicle he saw that the keys were in the ignition. He said he closed the trunk, started the car and drove to the intersection where he turned on the lights. He then drove to Twenty-first Street and parked the vehicle in the woods.
On Sept. 9, Oswalt said he saw the Gavlocks at the borough dump. He said he drove up to the site but became stuck.
He then removed the inspection sticker because Gavlock wanted it. Oswalt said he had some gasoline tanks in the car because the car was low on gas and he was going to fill it up and run it through some mud. But he said the car became stuck so he dumped the gasoline on the car and set it on fire to watch it burn and to destroy any evidence. He showed police where he had parked the vehicle in the woods where police recovered the vehicle's registration plate.
In a separate case, Oswalt is also charged with stowaways prohibited, disorderly conduct.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Sept. 13, Charlotte and Ryan Charles, who coincidentally are the same people from whom Oswalt stole the vehicle, reported they saw a boy without a shirt wearing red shorts jump on a train, ride it a short while and jump back off before riding away on a red mountain bicycle. The Charles' said they did not know the boy.
Later that day, police spoke to a group of teenagers who were at the picnic tables outside of Sheetz, one of which was Oswalt, who was shirtless and wearing red shorts. A red mountain bike was lying nearby in the alley, but none of the kids claimed it was theirs and all denied they had ridden it there.
They also all denied trying to get on the train saying they were only reaching out and touching it.
Police took the bike back to the station.
Police spoke to another juvenile at Sheetz who was not with the group; he said he knew Oswalt and said Oswalt had ridden the bike to the store.
Oswalt waived his right to a preliminary hearing in this case as well.
Oswalt is incarcerated on $50,000 straight bail.