The Mobile City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the business license of a convenience store suspected of selling spice, or synthetic marijuana, to customers.
On three separate occasions undercover officers bought spice from D&D One Stop on Halls Mill Road, before executing a search warrant at the store on May 23, Mobile Police Department Attorney Wanda Rahman told councilors during a hearing.
The search warrant resulted in the arrest of storeowner Desha Matthews on charges of trafficking of a controlled substance and the arrest of her boyfriend, Fredrick Howard on trafficking and distribution charges.
Matthews spoke at the hearing and told councilors she didn’t know the illegal activity was taking place. She blamed Howard for the spice sales.
“It really wasn’t me,” she said. “When I did realize what was going on I tried to put an end to it.”
The revocation means Matthews won’t be able to operate a business in any location within Mobile city limits.
The MPD initially went through the court system to acquire a temporary restraining order to bar Matthews from entering the store before the hearing could take place. Capt. Jack Dove has previously said the building’s owner had already evicted Matthews.
Rahman said officers made an initial buy at the store on Halls Mill Road on May 20.
During that operation, officers purchased five packets of spice, using $100, she said.
Rahman said the officers went into the store and asked for “Jo,” a slang term for Mojo, or spice.
On another visit to the store on May 21, MPD officers used $50 to purchase two packs of the drug and on a third visit officers purchased 46 grams of spice in 12 packs for $300, Rahman told councilors.
MPD Chief James Barber said after the hearing that Matthews should’ve known about the spice sales because she was present during the execution of the search warrant.
In other business, the council approved a contract to provide sidewalks to a portion of Old Shell Road in the Village of Spring Hill. The $173,950 contract with Asphalt Services, Inc. is part of a grant where the city’s portion of the matching funds, which is close to $50,000, was paid for by the community through a fundraiser.
The council approved a contract with Espalier, LLC in the amount of $9,800 to make improvements to a soccer field at Herndon Park. The council also approved a $13,843 contract with MDS Construction for a handicap ramp at the Springhill Recreation Center.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Councilman Levon Manzie recognized St. Mary’s Catholic School Principal Debbie Ollis for winning the Distinguished Principal award from the elementary school division of the National Catholic Education Association.
Manzie read a proclamation making Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Debbie Ollis Day in Mobile.
“I’m so proud of her,” Manzie said. “We graduated together from the greatest class of Leadership Mobile in 2006.” Ollis thanked the council, Stimpson and Manzie for the recognition. She also thanked the staff at St. Mary’s.
“I’m proud to be a Catholic school principal,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without the City of Mobile.”