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Store owner, worker face charges
Authorities targeting sale of drugs
1 Store-Hooda mug

Two people face drug charges after an undercover sting Friday afternoon at a local convenience store.


Sohel Sultanali Kamal, 28, and Azim Aziz Hooda, 26, both of Lawrenceville, were arrested for selling what authorities described as synthetic marijuana.


The arrests followed a search of the Chevron station, which Kamal owns and where Hooda works, near the intersection of Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53.


Hooda was charged with two counts of selling a controlled substance with intent to distribute.


Kamal faces felony possession of a controlled substance with intent and sale of a controlled substance. He is also charged with transactions involving drug-related objects, a misdemeanor.


Both men are being held at the Dawson County jail after a magistrate denied them bond.


Wooten said Kamal locked up the store Friday night upon his arrest. As of Tuesday afternoon, the business had reopened.


This spring, Georgia became the first state to ban the drug commonly known as K2 or Spice, which consists of chemically-treated spices that when smoked mimic the effects of THC in marijuana.


According to Dawson County Sheriff’s Maj. John Cagle, the drug is considered a Schedule I controlled substance.


Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten said investigators received reports that store employees continued to sell the substance after the ban took effect. They then worked with informants, who bought the items at the store on more than one occasion.


“When our investigators executed the search warrant Friday, they located money that was from the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, which was used to buy the illegal controlled substance,” Wooten said.


“We were told when we entered in reference to the search warrant that they said they hadn’t sold the substance since Gov. Perdue signed the bill, which obviously turned out not to be true since we had video surveillance.”


A few years ago, the same convenience store fell under scrutiny for refusing to stop selling glass pipes, which can be used to smoke marijuana and other illegal drugs.


Members of the Dawson County Meth Task Force, along with area high school students and church members, held a protest in November 2008, demanding store management remove the pipes.


The group already had convinced four other area stores to quit selling the pipes with a petition and threats of public protests.


Kamal was not listed as the store owner at that time.