Drugs that looked like candy sold at stores near schools on Long Island

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Drugs that looked like candy sold at stores near Long Island schools
Police have charged four men with selling drugs disguised as candy near schools in Suffolk County. Chantee Lans has the story.

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Police have charged four men with selling drugs that looked like candy near schools in Suffolk County.

Authorities raided Exit 42 Deli in Bay Shore and Legit 100 Smoke Shop in West Islip.

The smoke shop is about a block from West Islip High School and just 1,000 feet from Paul J. Belew Elementary School.

Police seized concentrated cannabis, cocaine and mushrooms from both locations.

Investigators say the stores packaged some of the narcotics as name-brand candy bars and advertised the drugs near the front door where children could see them.

While the packaging, meant to look like name-brand candy, is clearly labeled and legal to sell -- it is not legal in Bay Shore and West Islip.

"This was packaged to be enticing to people who like candy, typically children like candy, and it was also clearly labeled saying what it contained," said Det. Lt. Dylan Friedlander with the Suffolk County Police Department.

Police say they received complaints of the illegal sales, but not from anyone tied to the schools. They also said they did not get any reports of children getting sick from the drugs, but during their search they found cocaine and mushrooms.

Following the execution of the search warrants, the owners of the businesses, Ali Anwar, 44, and Hasnain Anwar, 42, were both arrested at or near their homes.

Two employees of the stores, Joseph Orso, 47, and Shevin Mahabal, 30, were also arrested.

On Wednesday, customers were turned away after seeing a fire marshal notice on the door.

"That's crazy, I had no idea, that's why when I pulled up, I was in shock. I had no idea, it's crazy," said Exit 42 Deli customer Tanya Bieckert.

Other customers were more empathetic to the suspects.

"I've been to the store, so I have nothing against them, I'm so sorry they made a mistake and hope they can fix it," said Legit 100 Smoke Shop customer Gloria Gomez.

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