Drugs disguised as candy sold in stores near Long Island elementary schools

LONG ISLAND (WABC) — Police charged four men with selling drugs that looked like candy near schools in Suffolk County.

Authorities raided Exit 42 Deli in Bay Shore and the Legit 100 Smoke Shop in West Islip.

The Smokehouse is about a block from West Islip High School and just 300 yards from Paul J. Belew Elementary School.

Police seized concentrated cannabis, cocaine and mushrooms at both locations.

Investigators say the stores packaged some of the narcotics as branded candies and advertised the drugs near the front door where children could see them.

Although the packaging, intended to look like branded candy, is clearly labeled and legal for sale, it is not legal in Bay Shore and West Islip.

“This was packaged to appeal to people who like candy, usually children like candy, and it was also clearly labeled indicating what was in it,” Det said. Lt. Dylan Friedlander with the Suffolk County Police Department.

Police say they have received complaints about the illegal sales, but not from anyone linked to the schools. They also said they had not received any reports of children getting sick from drugs, but during their search they had found cocaine and mushrooms.

Following the execution of search warrants, the owners of the businesses, Ali Anwar, 44, and Hasnain Anwar, 42, were both arrested at or near their homes.

Two store workers, Joseph Orso, 47, and Shevin Mahabal, 30, were also arrested.

Customers were turned away on Wednesday after seeing a notice from the fire marshal on the door.

“It’s crazy, I had no idea, that’s why when I stopped, I was in shock. I had no idea, it’s crazy,” said Tanya Bieckert, Exit 42 Deli customer.

Other customers were more empathetic towards the suspects.

“I went to the store so I have nothing against them, I’m so sorry they made a mistake and I hope they can fix it,” Legit 100 Smoke Shop customer Gloria Gomez said. .

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