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Monroe police arrested the owner of Tobacco and Liquor on North 18th Street in Monroe last week after several months of receiving tips about the activity from a witness cooperating with the department's street crimes unit.

The witness told police that Jiteshbhai Soma Rathod, 43, of 1416 North 18th St., Monroe was selling the Delta 9 vape pens from inside the store.

An undercover police officer entered the store, posing as a patron, on April 17 and May 5 and bought a “Blue Dreams”-flavored THC vape pen.

“Each time the undercover officers entered the store they purchased the THC vape pen from Rathod,” stated the May 5 arrest report. “Rathod sold these THC pens to the undercover officers for $50.00 a piece.”

Police obtained a search warrant and found, inside the store, a bottle containing five Methadone pills, 20 morphine pills and two boxes containing four THC vape pens.

“Through training and experience (it is) common practice for a narcotic dealer to sell pills out of a pill bottle with a torn label to conceal the identity of the actual owner of the pills,” stated the arrest report. “During the first buy from Rathod he was observed to be in possession of over 50 THC pens.”

A crime lap report confirmed the THC vape pens contained “91 percent of Delta 9 THC (CDS 1),” according to the arrest report.

Rathod was booked at Ouachita Correctional Center on suspicion of three counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance-schedule I (three counts) and possession of a controlled dangerous substance-schedule II (two counts).

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