Business owner gets probation for synthetic drugs
A Vidor business owner who was a target of an undercover investigation into the distribution of synthetic marijuana and bath salts in October 2011 was sentenced Tuesday, March 25, after pleading guilty to felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of synthetic marijuana.
In a plea agreement reportedly approved by 163rd District Judge Dennis Powell and finalized by 128th District Judge Courtney Arkeen, who presided over the proceedings in Powell’s absence, Mohammad Aftab Sultan, 48, was sentenced to 10 years probation and at least $20,000 in fines.
According to Examiner archives, Sheriff Keith Merritt said that in October 2011 the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division initiated the undercover operation that ultimately led to Sultan’s arrest and conviction after receiving numerous complaints from Vidor residents sick of the rampant illegal distribution of bath salts and synthetic marijuana.
During the investigation, undercover OCSO deputies were able to purchase bath salts believed to contain Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a controlled substance. The suspected substance was sent to the Jefferson County Crime Lab and confirmed to contain MDPV.
As a result of this undercover operation, a search warrant was issued for JR’s Mini-Mart at 5320 N. Highway 105 in Vidor. Oct. 7, 2011, the OCSO Narcotics Division executed the search warrant and found the storeowner, Sultan, actively participating in the distribution of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Several containers of bath salts and synthetic marijuana were seized during the search warrant. The evidence was sent to the Jefferson County Crime Lab and was positively identified as containing one or more of the substances prohibited by state law.
May 16, 2012, Sultan was indicted for felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of synthetic cannabinoid by the Orange County Grand Jury, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was arrested May 17, 2012, and the initial bond was $40,000.
In addition to probation and fines assessed in Sultan’s plea agreement, he is also required to remain in Orange County or Jefferson County, to complete 400 hours of community service, and has a curfew, meaning he must remain at his residence between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., excepting employment purposes.