Deputies make synthetic drug arrest in St. Pete Beach
Pinellas County sheriff’s investigators on Tuesday night arrested a man they say was selling XLR-11, the synthetic drug banned by Attorney General Pam Bondi in December, from a convenience store in St. Pete Beach. Nadeem Malik, 40, was arrested on two counts of possession of XLR-11, one count of possession of XLR-11 with the intent to sell, and two counts of selling XLR-11, according to jail records. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $34,000 bail. Malik is accused of selling the drug from the Sunshine Food and Gifts convenience store at 6880 Gulf Blvd. He had 104 canisters of the drug and twice sold it to undercover detectives, arrest reports say. On one occasion, he sold 4.8 grams of the drug to an undercover agent for $20, and on another 1.9 grams for $5, the reports say. He told investigators at one point he sells the drug only to people he knows.Malik, a store clerk, told investigators he was selling the drug on the instructions of the owner, according to Pinellas Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda. An investigation continues. In addition to the 104 canisters, deputies seized 29 additional canisters and 122 foil packages containing substances similar to those purchased by the undercover detective, Barreda said. XLR-11 was designated an illegal narcotic in an emergency ban put into effect by Bondi in December. If it appears in synthetic marijuana, commonly known as K2 or Spice, anyone selling it or having it can be charged. Malik’s arrest marks the first time the sheriff’s office has arrested anyone after the ban was enacted, Barreda said. Last month, St. Petersburg police arrested the owner of a St. Petersburg convenience store on charges she was selling illegal synthetic marijuana. Meherun Nessa, 54, was alleged to be selling the drug from Nessa’s Drive-Thru, at 5820 Ninth Ave. N. An undercover agent purchased two spice packages labeled “Mr. Happy Potpourri,” police have said.