San Diego

Hillcrest Shop Fined and Ordered to Stop Selling Spice

A Hillcrest business, its owner, and an employee must pay thousands in fines for selling spice.

Andy’s Smoke Shop was selling the spice last summer. Now, a judge has ordered the store to stop selling the illegal drug permanently.

The spice was first discovered when the San Diego Police Department’s Narcotics Unit conducted three undercover buys at the smoke shop at University and Sixth avenues in July 2016.

The City Attorney’s Office and District Attorney’s Office then filed a joint complaint against the business.

In court, the owner, Ghada Shaba, promised the store would stop selling spice. 

Approximately two pounds of spice were seized the following month, and a criminal complaint was filed against the store manager, Ossam Shaba, who later pled guilty to possession and sale of spice. Ossam Shaba was sentenced to three years of summary probation, two days in custody and 28 days of public work service.

Last month, a judge ordered Ghada Shaba to pay $2,500 in fines, Ossam Shaba, and the store to pay $50,000 in fines and ordered the store to not sell spice permanently.

San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott warned of the dangers of spice, a potentially lethal drug. Elliott said her office will vigorously prosecute any store who puts profits before the community’s health and safety.

Spice is said to create psychological effects similar to cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as physical effects such as seizures, tremors, vomiting and sometimes death.

The sale of spice was banned by City Council in 2016, following a sharp increase in San Diego drug overdoses in the fall of 2015. 

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