On Wednesday the Dalton Police Department arrested three individuals for the sale of synthetic marijuana including the owner of a Dalton tobacco store who was arrested for the same offense in February. The arrests came after an investigation that began in June and included the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Bartow County-Cartersville Drug Task Force, Calhoun Police Department, and the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Dhansukh Chhaganlal Bhika, 63, of 90 Sheffield Place in Cartersville owns the Discount Tobacco Food Mart business at 516 ML King, Jr. Boulevard in Dalton. In February, he was arrested and charged with selling synthetic marijuana from the business and investigators seized more than 1,300 packages of synthetic marijuana and more than $80,000 in cash. Bhika has since been free on a bond.
In May, Dalton investigators received information that synthetic marijuana sales were still taking place from the store and began a second investigation. On multiple occasions, cooperating informants bought synthetic marijuana from Bhika and also two other individuals, Allen Martin Payne and Tiffany Ryane Fowler, at the ML King, Jr. Boulevard store and also met at other locations to make purchases.
On July 2nd, the Georgia Department of Revenue performed a tobacco license compliance check on the store and while there, agents discovered packages of synthetic marijuana in the store. The agents reported the find to DPD investigators. Detectives from the DPD Drug Unit then obtained a search warrant for the store and found more than 100 packages of synthetic marijuana and more than 30 containers of a liquid form of synthetic marijuana that can be consumed using vapor pens or “E-Cigarettes.”
The investigation continued and on Wednesday Dalton officers served an arrest warrant on Allen Martin Payne, 36, was arrested at his residence at 248 Yellow Wood Way in Dalton. Payne consented to a search of his residence and officers found a 9 millimeter handgun, drug paraphernalia, and a small quantity of marijuana. Payne was charged with selling a controlled substance without FDA approval (synthetic marijuana), possession of marijuana, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, VGCSA, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Also Wednesday, Dalton officers served an arrest warrant on Tiffany Ryane Fowler, 32, of 145 Patriot Way in Resaca. She was arrested after meeting investigators at Dawnville Road and Highway 286 and was in possession of 1 package of synthetic marijuana when she was arrested. She was charged with selling a controlled substance without FDA approval (synthetic marijuana), possession of a schedule 1 drug (synthetic marijuana), possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, VGCSA.
Investigators arrested Dhansukh Chhaganlal Bhika after meeting him at the outlet mall in Calhoun. He was in possession of packages of synthetic marijuana at the time of his arrest. He was charged with selling a controlled substance without FDA approval (synthetic marijuana), possession of a schedule 1 drug (synthetic marijuana), and possession of tools for the commission of a crime, VGCSA.
After Wednesday’s arrests, investigators determined that Bhika had a storage unit in Bartow County where he had a large quantity of synthetic marijuana stored. After obtaining consent to search the storage unit, investigators from the Bartow County-Cartersville Task Force, Dalton Police Department, and Homeland Security seized more than 22 pounds of synthetic marijuana from the storage unit valued at approximately $100,000.
This investigation is continuing.