Hammond shop gets reprieve after closure for selling fake pot

2012-07-21T20:00:00Z Hammond shop gets reprieve after closure for selling fake potSteve Zabroski Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 21, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | The city will allow a Calumet Avenue tobacco shop shut down earlier this month for alleged sales of synthetic marijuana to stay in business after owners agreed Thursday to jettison one of their partners.

Hammond Discount Tobacco, 7345 Calumet Ave., was closed by police July 9 after an informant allegedly purchased an illegal cannabis analog there. The shop's business license was revoked.

The corporation operating the store was dissolved Wednesday, said Justin Murphy, an attorney representing two of the three former partners in the business. Murphy addressed the Board of Public Works and Safety on Thursday.

"One of the three owners may have had some prior knowledge" of the activities, Murphy said. The other two "had no knowledge," he said.

No arrests were made pending laboratory analysis of the contents of the packets seized by police. Police said the packets were being sold by the son of the former partner, Dineshkumar Patel.

A new partnership was created by Ajaykumar Sukhadia and Hemal Sukhadia, Murphy said, and "Patel is not going to be involved in any way, nor will his son."

The new company, KHA Inc., has applied for the necessary federal tax identification number, Murphy said.

A business license for the shop was granted by the works board, subject to the issuance of the federal ID.

"My clients are acutely aware that they need to watch their employees more closely," Murphy said.

Hammond ordinances have prohibited the sale of fake cannabis and so-called bath salts since 2010, and the products were banned statewide in March.

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