AUSTIN (KXAN) — Drug Enforcement Agency agents seized several head shops in Dallas and Austin after a bust involving synthetic marijuana, according to court documents.
Federal authorities say Gas Pipe was originally buying the drugs from a manufacture — collectively referred to as Shahwan DTO — but when the manufacture stopped making the product in late December 2013, the owners of Gas Pipe remodeled their location at 5800 Maple Avenue in Dallas in order to add a room specifically designed to manufacture “spice.”
According to the court filings, Lewisville resident Lawrence Shahwan, 38, owned and operated Sacred Sun Botanicals in Dallas as well as the drug trafficking business, Shahwan DTO, which he started around 2010.
The DEA says Shahwan DTO distributed to numerous businesses across the DFW area but in September 2013, they entered into an exclusive contract with the Gas Pipe and proceeded to only sell to Gas Pipe.
The Gas Pipe and Shahwan DTO contract required Shahwan to provide 500,000 three gram packages of spice to the Gas Pipe for $8 a package for a total contract price of $4 million. Shahwan would deliver up to 40,000 three gram packages of spice to the Gas Pipe, at the Maple Avenue location every Tuesday.
When Shahwan DTO couldn’t fulfill the contract due to several members being arrested on unrelated charges, authorities say Gas Pipe decided to manufacture the product themselves.
Lawrence and his wife, Alyson, are the accused masterminds of the organization that manufactured and distributed synthetic marijuana. Lawrence is currently in the Dallas County Jail charged with manufacturing and distributing.
Gerald “Jerry” Shults is the owner of the Gas Pipe and his daughter, Amy Herrig, helps him run the business. Neither have been charged in relation to this investigation.
In the forfeiture complaint, the authorities seized bank accounts as well as residential and retail properties owned by parties involved.
The real estate properties have not been seized by the D.E.A but the U.S. Government has filed “lis pendens” on all the properties owned by the Shahwan’s and Shults’. This allows the government to claim them pending the outcome of the investigation or later court proceedings to seize the properties.
The Gas Pipe has nine stores in the DFW area and two in Austin. When KXAN News went by the store located at 701 East Fifth Street, the store was still open. The location at 8519 Burnet Road had a sign on the door said they were “closed for renovations.”