Owner of Middletown smoke shop searched in drug investigation: 'It’s just a misunderstanding'
The owner of a Middletown smoke shop describes the eight hour search of his business and apartment as a “misunderstanding."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The owner of a Middletown smoke shop describes the eight-hour search of his business and apartment as a “misunderstanding.”
LMPD says a drug complaint led detectives to Oxmoor Apartments off Shelbyville Road on Friday with a search warrant.
Police say Tariq Bayoud was observed leaving the complex’s leasing office with a package.
Court documents show a “search of the package revealed approximately 21 kilos of brown powder substance shipped to the United States from Indonesia.”
Bayoud says the package contained Kratom, a southeast Asian herbal leaf sold at his store, "Trippy’s Smoke Shop" in Middletown.
UPS dropped off another shipment Friday, which police also confiscated. Officers say it appeared the substance was being mixed with others and repackaged, which made it dangerous.
“It’s not a controlled substance or approved substance by the FDA, so that’s our main concern. What is being added to this chemical?” said Detective Brett Hankison with LMPD.
LMPD is working to test the powder to determine its makeup.
“It’s just a misunderstanding,” Bayoud said. “That is the first time in my life I’ve imported this product. The first time ever I imported it, and they thought I was mixing it with other drugs, but it’s never happened.”
“Did you do anything illegal?” WDRB’s Josh Breslow asked Bayoud.
“100 percent, nothing,” Bayoud responded.
“So, you’ve never taken it, and added illegal drugs?” Breslow asked.
“Nothing at all. 100 percent,” Bayoud said.
Bayoud says he consented to a search of his business, as well as his storage unit and apartment.
According to a police citation, detectives found a large amount of cash in Bayoud’s bedroom closet.
The document also shows drug paraphernalia was recovered from his garage, including “12 packs of Coca Cola and Red Bull”, where “the top of the cans could be screwed off, revealing a false storage container”. LMPD says these are “commonly used to hide illicit narcotics”.
“We’re still in business. We didn’t do anything illegal. We’re doing everything according to the law,” Bayoud said. "I know what's legal and what's illegal. If I did something illegal, I should be in jail by now."
Court records indicate Bayoud was previously charged with trafficking synthetic drugs and criminal simulation in August 2015.
Bayoud has a court date set for March 29.
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