Ajay R. Bhatt, Stuart, Florida Store Owner, Arrested for Selling Synthetic Marijuana


September 20, 2013 by Elaina Robbins

Ajay R. Bhatt, a Stuart, Florida store owner, was arrested Monday after he was accused of selling synthetic marijuana from his convenience store, news sources report. Bhatt was booked into the Martin County Jail on charges of selling synthetic cannabinoids within 1000 feet of a convenience store. It is unclear whether he qualified for bail bond. So far, no defense attorney appears to have spoken on Bhatt's behalf.

According to reports, Bhatt is the owner and operator of Rightway Deli on Southeast Palm Beach Road in Stuart. It is unclear how long Bhatt had been operating from that location. It is too early to tell how Bhatt's arrest will affect the day-to-day operations at the deli.

Unlike traditional marijuana - a plant that is grown in the ground, harvested, and sold without additives - synthetic marijuana is made using harsh and dangerous chemicals, which are arguably worse for the human body when burned and inhaled than normal marijuana smoke. To counteract the dangerous effects of synthetic weed, many manufacturers place the warning "not for human consumption" right on the packaging. Some of the core chemicals in synthetic pot are easily changeable, so when the Florida government would ban one of the drug's chemicals, manufacturers simply change that chemical to make it legal again. As of March 23, 2012, the state of Florida banned all of the 142 chemicals that could be used to make synthetic weed, ultimately stopping it from being sold legally in stores.

Despite the new law, minors were apparently frequenting the deli to purchase synthetic marijuana. Parents caught on and informed police, sources say. Officials then went undercover and purchased numerous packages of the suspected drug from Bhatt's store, sources say.

An analysis of those packages allegedly revealed that they contained synthetic marijuana. The Stuart police department later obtained a warrant and raided Bhatt's deli. The press did not say how much of the substance was taken during that raid.

Crimes comes in all kinds of forms. Holiday resident David Edward Benes was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly trapped his live-in, 80-year-old girlfriend in their home and tried to perform an exorcism on her, sources report. Benes, 54, was booked into the Land O'Lakes Jail on one count of domestic battery on a person 65 or older, among other charges. He was held without bond. It is unclear whether he hired legal aid.

Reports say the incident began on Monday at Benes and his girlfriend's home. The pair has apparently been dating for three years. During the argument, Benes allegedly pinned the woman down and told her he was going to "...get the devil out of her." In order to stop the woman from escaping, Benes removed batteries from the phones, locked the doors, and hid car keys, sources allege.

The exorcism apparently continued until Tuesday. By the time police got wind of what was happening and got to the residence, Benes was allegedly intoxicated and had stopped trying to exorcise the woman. Benes told the officers the girlfriend initiated the fight "because she's crazy," sources indicate.

Sources: 9.18.13 Bhatt Synthetic Weed.pdf, Synthetic Weed Ban - Bhatt Synthetic Weed.pdf, 9.19.13 Benes Battery on the Elderly.pdf.