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 May 25th, 2012  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara announces arrests, seizures in month-long investigation into illegal sale of "Spice" in St. Lucie County
Undercover St. Lucie County Sheriff's detectives visited convenience stores throughout the county to buy the illegal intoxicant "Spice" and made seven arrests, seizing more than 1,000 packets of the drug and more than $58,000 in cash and debit cards, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"I received numerous telephone calls from concerned parents who told me their children were able to buy Spice here in St. Lucie County and that the drug made their children sick," Sheriff Mascara said. "That was why I ordered this investigation, in which undercover detectives visited every convenience store in St. Lucie County to see where they could buy Spice.

"The drug Spice is illegal to possess and illegal to sell, and this operation was aimed at those who were breaking the law by selling 'Spice,'"Sheriff Mascara said. "This operation is going to continue throughout the county to make sure convenience stores aren't selling this poison to our residents."

The month-long operation resulted in seven arrests at five convenience stores:

- Shell station, 7961 South U.S.1;

- Shell station, 2475 Midway Road;

- Dollar Store, 2557 South U.S.l;

- Citgo station, 4101 Okeechobee Road; and

- Food Max, 3030 South 25th Street.

Arrested were:

- Natalie Bedon, 19, of Port St. Lucie (Shell station, 7961 South U.S.1);

- Martin Hu, 55, of Pompano (Shell station, 2475 Midway Road);

- Masud Karim, 51, of Port St. Lucie (Food Max, 3030 South 25th Street);

- Deepak Shah, 47, of Fort Pierce (Citgo station, 4101 Okeechobee Road);

- Marienella Tortora, 50, of Port St. Lucie (Shell station, 7961 South U.S.1);

- Jikendra Prajaputi, 47, of Port St. Lucie (Dollar Store, 2557 South U.S.1); and

- Sultana Karim, 39, of Port St. Lucie (Food Max, 3030 South 25th Street.)

Additional charges and arrests are pending with drug samples awaiting testing, a process that could take several weeks, Sheriff Mascara said.

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