By Joe Johnson
Oconee County deputies recently executed a search warrant at a Watkinsville convenience store where minors had been able to illegally purchase high TCH-content gummies, tobacco and vaping products.
The warrant was served Oct. 13 at the Oconee Fast Mart, 1961 Hog Mountain Road, where a clerk who allegedly was responsible for the sales, Jatinkumar Patel, was arrested on one count of sale of alcohol to minors, two counts of sale of tobacco to minors, and multiple felony counts of sale of schedule I narcotics .
"We have received many complaints about the sale of contraband to minors at the Oconee Fast Mart, however past investigations were not able to develop enough evidence for criminal charges," the sheriff's office said.
The investigation is still on going and further charges may be forthcoming.
The schedule one narcotics sold in this case are vape pens, cartridges, and “gummies” containing Delta 8 or Delta 9, which contain THC. Based on current Georgia law, many of these CBD/Hemp containing products are legal to sell if they do not exceed a prescribed amount of THC. However, these products often contain much higher doses of THC than legally allowed, such as the ones sold in this case. Because their doses are unknown, they often cause harmful side effects, especially in minors.
"The Sheriff’s Office takes the safety of our youth seriously and we will not tolerate the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal substances to minors."