Indy Smoke Shop owner faces 18 felony charges in synthetic drug arrest
Christopher Tiplick faces 18 felony counts
Last Updated: 211 days ago
An Indianapolis businessman is accused of selling synthetic drugs from three separate Smoke Shop locations, the Marion County Prosecutor's Officer said Friday.
Christopher Tiplick was charged with 18 felony counts after an undercover investigation by the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.
Detectives said undercover officers bought packets of "spice" from three separate locations of the Smoke Shop.
"When the individuals went in, the undercover officer or the confidential informants to make undercover buys, we allege the product was somewhat concealed. It was retrieved from a bin that was not visible," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said.
After issuing a search warrant, more than 1,800 packets of synthetic drugs were seized from the three stores.
Police also seized $8,300 cash, computers and a van.
"The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has employed new tactics to combat the dangers that synthetic drugs and look-alike substances are bringing to our city," said IMPD Officer Charles Tice.
Tiplick faces several felony counts including dealing a look-alike substance, and possession of a synthetic drug.
In September, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and the Indiana Attorney General's Office sent letters to retailers notifying them that the sale of synthetic drugs and look-alike substances would be prosecuted. The store owners were given one week to remove these items from their shelves.
Synthetic drugs are made to mirror the highs associated with marijuana or cocaine, but sold openly under the guise of "plant food," "bath salts," "potpourri," "incense" or "spice." While the packaging is labeled not for human consumption, the products are often taken orally, inhaled or injected.
In March, the state legislature passed laws making possession, distribution and sale of spice, bath salts and other synthetic drugs illegal.
But state legislators say they can't keep pace with manufacturers who constantly change the the drugs' chemical makeup.
State Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, said new laws should reflect criminal intent by manufacturers to harm the public.
"Spice, you don't know what's in it. A lot of people who manufacture this cut it up, dry it and spray poison on it and sell it," Merritt said.
Statewide enforcement of synthetic drug laws has not only been sporadic, but has varied from county to county.
Curry said Indianapolis retailers have been put on notice.
"The point of filing these charges and doing the follow up investigations was to let everyone know we're serious. And they need to get this off their shelves if they continue to sell it," Curry said.
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