The town of Coeburn, Virginia is still battling synthetic drugs. "It’s been a big problem here in Coeburn for about a year, the sale of synthetic drugs in particular,” said Town Manager, Loretta Mays.
The town passed an ordinance in August that makes all synthetics illegal, she explained. "If it's sold with the intentions of altering someone's mental state it's illegal in the town of Coeburn.”
Mays said it helped shut down shops selling synthetics, but now there seems to be a new problem. "I think what happens is when you get rid of the stores, you drive it underground," she said.
Coeburn police said they have been getting complaints from the community about synthetic drugs being sold at Get-It-Gone Consignment Shop. On Thursday, they searched the store and confiscated synthetic marijuana, drug paraphernalia, about $1,500 in cash and computer equipment.
Police said charges against the store owner, Anthony Freeman, and his employees are pending, which is shocking for vendors at Get-It-Gone. "I know he is a good Christian man. I do not believe a word of what this town and the police are saying about him. I know he is not selling anything illegal,” said Elizabeth Taylor. "He really helps out the community a lot, with kids, his church. It's a shame,” said Garry Taylor.
For now, the doors are closed at the store and Mays said the city served Freeman with a notice Friday morning that his business license is being revoked.
Wise County Commonwealth Attorney Sarah Jessee said they’re still seeing a lot of cases regarding synthetic drugs. She said it’s still a major and on-going problem.