• Warrant details undercover investigation, raid of smoke shop

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Search warrants obtained by Eyewitness News detail a long investigation into the Queen City Smoke Shop with undercover officers buying suspected synthetic drugs in September, November, January and last week.

    Neighbors of the Independence Boulevard business weren't surprised seeing customers there, night and day.

    "They're underweight. They look sickly," said one neighbor.

    In the documents, it states the drugs were disguised, marketed as other products like "hookah pipe cleaners" or "glass cleaners."

    The documents stated it was sold to regular customers and sometimes from a hidden drawer under the cash register.

    In some cases, the warrants stated customers would shoot the drugs up.

    One man who works nearby said he saw syringes in the parking lot.

    "Yes, and just loiterers, people loitering around," said Keith Kelley.

    After the undercover buys, detectives raided the store and the owner's home in east Charlotte on Monday. The warrants show police seized about a $1 million worth of drugs, guns and cash from both places.

    A neighbor said he's never had a problem with that home before.

    "I'm sorry that they got caught. I don't care who it is. I don't have anything to say against them," he said.

    The store owner's husband said they thought their products were legal and tested some of them for the chemicals, currently outlawed in North Carolina.

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