Mini-mart owner sentenced to federal prison for selling bath salts, synthetic marijuana

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HARRISBURG, Pa. –  Kulwinder Singh Grewal, 42, of Myerstown, was sentenced in federal court in Harrisburg today to 1 ½ years’ imprisonment for selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

Grewal pled guilty in February 2014 to the sale of misbranded drugs under names such as Eight Ballz, Fusion Herbal Potpourri, Joy, Crunky Monkey and Purple Haze.   Grewal operated a mini-mart and sold these items from his store and other stores he helped to supply. The substances were determined to be either controlled substances or analogues of controlled substances. The substances were packaged for retail sale and contain warning labels that they were not for human consumption.

Grewal admitted that he was aware that these products were being used by customers to get high. During a search of Grewal’s home in April 2012, agents recovered a white plastic bag in a tool box in the garage that contained packages marked “Eight Balls.” The DEA lab determined that the substances were α-PVP, Pentylone, 4-MEC, and α-PBP, all cathinones and analogues of Methcathinone, a controlled substance.

A substance is an analogue if it is substantially similar to the chemical structure of a schedule I or II substance which has a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system similar to or greater than that of the schedule I or II controlled substance. These substances (bath salts and synthetic marijuana) mimicked marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance or methcathinone, a Schedule II controlled substance.

Proceeds from the sales of these products were deposited by co-defendant, Amerjit Singh Grewal, into business accounts. Funds from these accounts were withdrawn and used to purchase synthetic marijuana and bath salts products from vendors such as DZE, located in Houston, Texas. Grewal was ordered to forfeit the funds seized from these accounts which totaled almost $500,000. Co-defendant Amerjit Singh Grewal was previously sentenced to 33 months imprisonment.

“The public is put at risk by the sale and distribution of potentially dangerous drugs that are disguised as innocuous consumer products,” said Special Agent in Charge Antoinette V. Henry of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro-Washington Field Office. “We will continue to work to prevent such drugs from reaching the market and to bring to justice those who endanger the public health by circumventing FDA’s regulatory process.”