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The Lake News Online
  • Eldon Puff N Snuff named a public nuisance in civil suit

  • The Miller County Prosecuting Attorney filed a civil suit to close an Eldon business he says is a public nuisance and a threat to area residents.
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  • The Miller County Prosecuting Attorney filed a civil suit to close an Eldon business he says is a public nuisance and a threat to area residents.
    Matt Howard alleged that an ongoing investigation into Puff N Snuff revealed the business sold "synthetic cannabinoids, imitation controlled substance analogues, and their respective paraphernalia" in a petition dated Monday, July 21. Puff N Snuff sells cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.
    The petition seeks to close and padlock the business, located at 1900 Business Highway 54 in Eldon, for at least a year. A business license with the City of Eldon lists Charles Austin, Jr. and Stacey Austin, of St. Charles County, as the owners and property managers.
    In an affadavit provided by the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, an Eldon Police Department officer conducted an undercover purchase of synthetic drugs at the business on June 30 with an accomplice. The purchasers asked to see "the book of fake." A Puff N Snuff cashier produced a book of products from behind the counter and sold him $50 worth of "fake" in two different transactions. The purchases were captured on audio.
    According to the affadavit, the packages sold to the purchaser were labeled with a sticker with the words "chronic hypnotic," a slang term used to describe cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids.
    Howard requested the court declare the business a public nuisance, claiming law enforcement has responded to multiple incidents of drug overdoses from synthetic drugs. Some of the drug users claim to have purchased synthetic drugs from Puff N Snuff.
    The petition says the business causes "unnecessary suffering to their customers and the public and community at large."
    Howard asked the court shut the business down for at least one year.
    This isn't the first time Puff N Snuff has been charged with illegal activity. In October 2013, a federal grand jury named the business, along with three other businesses and eight individuals, as part of a conspiracy to distribute K2 — better known as synthetic marijuana. Charles Austin was also named as a defendant in that case.
    “Not even federal prosecution has deterred this ongoing problem, and we are not going to wait any longer — we are asking the court to order the place to be closed and padlocked,” Howard said.
    An August 7 hearing has been scheduled for the defendants in the case to present a defense.
     

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