Three people charged with selling synthetic marijuana from a downtown Franklin gas station have pleaded guilty to multiple felonies.
Harinder Kaur, Nachhattar Singh and Veerpartap Singh all pleaded guilty to charges of dealing a synthetic or lookalike drug after police raided the Phillips 66 gas station in December.
Franklin police said the three and another relative, Rupinder Singh, were using the gas station to sell Spice during a two-year investigation. Rupinder Singh also was charged with two counts of dealing a synthetic drug, but his case is ongoing.
Kaur, 43, pleaded guilty to four Class C felony charges of dealing a synthetic or lookalike drug. Nachhattar Singh, 57, pleaded guilty to three Class C felony charges. Both pleaded to all counts as they were originally charged.
Their son, Veerpartap Singh, 18, also was charged with three Class C felonies but pleaded guilty to three lesser Class D felony charges of dealing a synthetic or lookalike drug.
All three people live at 7805 Five Points Road, Indianapolis, and are free on bond.
Sentencing is set for July 9. The pleas did not come with a set sentencing agreement reached with the prosecutor, so attorneys for the defendants will present arguments during the sentencing, said attorney Carrie Miles, who is representing Kaur.
Miles, attorney Dan Vandivier, who is representing Nachhattar Singh, and attorney Andy Roessner, who is representing Veerpartap Singh, have worked the case together and advised the family to plead guilty after reviewing the details of the case, Miles said.
“We believed that it was in our clients’ best interest to go forward this way; and after consulting with us, they agreed,” she said.
A civil case seeking to seize cash made from the drug sales as well as property, including the downtown gas station, is ongoing. Roessner recently asked the court to remove Veerpartap Singh from the civil case because he owns no assets from the gas station. A judge has not ruled on that request yet, said Doug Cummins, a private attorney who is representing the city and prosecutor’s office in the case.
Franklin police started investigating the station two years before the raid Dec. 18 after receiving complaints from residents that employees were selling synthetic marijuana out of the shop.
Police made several undercover purchases from the station, police said. But the Spice did not contain any substances that were specifically banned by state law at the time, so no charges were able to be filed.
State lawmakers changed the law on synthetic drugs in July 2013 to also include any substance that was being sold as a drug or used like a drug, even if it did not have any of the banned chemicals. Franklin police were able to make additional Spice purchases from the gas station after that change and then filed the charges, police said.
During the December raid, police seized about 350 packets of Spice from the gas station with a street value of about $14,000, investigators said. Police also seized financial records and surveillance tapes and shut down the gas station.
The station reopened days later before it was shut down a second time on a court order Dec. 27. The second closure was to prevent them from selling inventory or equipment that the city is trying to seize in the civil case or take out new debt on the property that would diminish its value.
Attorneys were able to reach an agreement allowing the station to reopen in early January, and it has been open since. As part of the agreement, police and attorneys can monitor the station’s financial records.
None of the defendants has been working in the station since the criminal charges were filed, police said.