Police: Exton shop owner sold dangerous synthetic drugs

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53-year-old Downingtown man faces multiple felony charges, D.A. said

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Jeffrey MacDonald faces multiple charges for the alleged sales of synthetic drugs.

A month after police seized over 1,000 doses of alleged synthetic drugs during the execution of a search warrant at JM Cigars in Exton, the District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of the shop’s owner today.

Jeffrey MacDonald, 53, of Downingtown, faces multiple felony drug charges, including possession with the intent to deliver controlled substances, sold under labels such as California Kronic, Flame Boy, and Great White.

According to the criminal complaint, Uwchlan Township police learned that MacDonald was selling synthetic drugs at the store in June 2011 and warned him the sales would become illegal in August. MacDonald promised to comply with the law but did not, police said.

Synthetic drugs go by many names: bath salts, synthetic marijuana, spice, salvia, potpourri, and others. These so-called “designer drugs” are analogues of traditional illegal drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, often with slight chemical alterations intended to evade prosecution. The drugs can cause symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, and violent, sometimes fatal behavior.

District Attorney Tom Hogan said dealers ignore the health risks because the profit margins are so high. He said a dose of the drug typically sold for $15 cost the seller $5. As a result, he wants dealers and users throughout the county on notice that such transactions won’t be tolerated.

“Chester County law enforcement has been actively checking stores to make sure they are not selling these synthetic drugs,” Hogan said. “This defendant was warned and chose to disregard the law. Hopefully everybody else gets the message.”

MacDonald was released on $25,000 unsecured bail to await a July 31 preliminary hearing.

Hogan said the synthetic-drug problem first surfaced in the county in November when a young man ended up at Brandywine Hospital after smoking a substance known as “Cloud 9” that he purchased at Harry’s Quick Stop on Lincoln Highway in Sadsburyville. The store’s owner, Amrish Patel, 49, of King of Prussia, is awaiting trial on drug and reckless endangerment charges, court records said.

 

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