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‘Clerical Error’ Leads to Dropped Charge in Synthetic Pot Case

January 23, 2014
By. J.W. JOHNSON JR. City Editor , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

A criminal charge filed against Robert K. Grimmett was dismissed this week as a result of a "clerical error" in the original indictment.

However, that charge will likely be refiled against Grimmett 52, of 413 Bennett St., Bridgeport and the owner of Bob's Cheap Smokes in St. Clairsville. The store was declared a public nuisance last year for selling synthetic marijuana.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office filed a nuisance abatement action against the business in March after a joint investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Belmont County Sheriff's Department uncovered the sale of synthetic drugs at that location.

According to DeWine, the shop was selling products labeled "potpourri" that contained illegal, synthetic compounds that, when consumed, mimic the psychoactive and physiological effects of marijuana.

According to court documents, an undercover agent entered Bob's Cheap Smokes on March 1 to see if he could purchase synthetic narcotics.

The agent purchased one product known as "Mr. Happy" and another called "Beast" for a total of $47.50. These products, the court found, contained substances that simulated the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The store was ordered closed until October.

In November, Grimmett pleaded guilty to complicity, a felony of the fourth degree, after being indicted for aiding in the trafficking of drugs. A pre-sentence report was ordered prior to Tuesday's scheduled sentencing hearing.

However, Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato dismissed the charges Tuesday. Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry cited a clerical error in the indictment as a reason for the dismissal. He did not elaborate further, but said the original charge would be refiled and the error would be corrected.

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