Police execute search warrants in 9 Southwest Va. counties in drug, money laundering investigation (2024)

Authorities on Thursday executed two dozen search warrants across nine Southwest Virginia counties as part of “an extensive, ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of money laundering and illegal narcotic distribution network by retail establishments.”

The businesses are located in Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wythe counties, according to a statement from Virginia State Police that did not name them.

Police execute search warrants in 9 Southwest Va. counties in drug, money laundering investigation (1)

In its own news release, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said warrants in Washington County were executed at a Zarati Shop on Lee Highway in Abingdon, another Zarati Shop in Damascus, Grounded LLC on West Main Street in Abingdon and The Good Vibes Shop on Cook Street in Abingdon.

The sheriff’s office said search warrants were executed at “businesses, financial institutions, and residences.”

“I am proud that my office has been able to assist deputies and attorneys in enforcing the law today. Too many stores are selling THC products, often marketed for children, in clear violation of the law,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a statement to Cardinal News, referring to tetrahydrocannabinol, the main component of cannabis that affects a person’s mental state.

“These items should not be sold anywhere in this Commonwealth, and I’m grateful to the men and women in uniform who executed these search warrants.”

State police said no arrests were made Thursday as a result of the search warrants, and the investigation is continuing.

The Facebook page for the Zarati Shop in Abingdon says it offers “indoor growing supplies and consultations.” The website for Grounded LLC says it offers “a broad array of cannabis oils geared to address illnesses and injuries” including cancer, seizures and chronic pain, while the Facebook page for The Good Vibes Shop describes it as a “private growing community.”

According to an employee of the circuit court clerk’s office in Abingdon, search warrant affidavits have been filed in the case but have been sealed for 180 days. The returns, which list anything that was seized, also will be sealed. Spot checks Thursday of the circuit courts in Montgomery County and Radford also didn’t turn up any publicly available search warrants related to this case.

Besides state police and Miyares’ office, the operation involved 29 local law enforcement agencies, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the offices of prosecutors from the nine counties.

Reached Thursday, state Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazewell County, said he was unfamiliar with the police operation but added, “This doesn’t surprise me.”

“We want this done within the compound of the law, and if there is illegal activity, it needs to be prosecuted,” Hackworth said.

Amid confusion over Virginia’s marijuana laws, cannabis-related retail stores have been popping up around the commonwealth.

Virginia allows adults 21 and older to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and permits home growing of up to four plants per household.

But with no legal retail market outside of the medical industry, some shops have begun “gifting” marijuana to customers who buy other products. Miyares recently issued an opinion that such gifting is illegal.

Police execute search warrants in 9 Southwest Va. counties in drug, money laundering investigation (2)

Among the stores that saw police activity Thursday afternoon was the Zarati Shop in the Hollins area of Roanoke County, which had a “closed” sign posted.

A Roanoke County police officer came to the door and said the business was closed. Asked what was going on, he replied: “Police investigation.” All questions were referred to state police.

Soon after the shop opened in July, a Cardinal News staffer visited and was told it was an “agricultural grow” store. Inside were T-shirts, stickers and some gardening supplies. Behind the counter was a blackboard describing “Kelso’s Cut” and “Premium.” A flier described it as an “adult share” store, and clerks also sometimes stood outside the store waving signs that advertised “free pre-roll.”

When the staffer returned and bought a pair of pruning shears for $15, he was given a plastic baggie containing what appeared to be a hand-rolled cigarette with green vegetative matter. Cardinal sent the baggie and its contents to a lab, and preliminary tests confirmed the presence of Delta 9, the intoxicating component of cannabis. Further tests are underway.

Following Thursday’s law enforcement operation, the Zarati Shop in Abingdon posted on its Facebook page that “police love to mess up a good day.”

Cardinal staffers Dwayne Yancey and Tad Dickens contributed information to this report.

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Police execute search warrants in 9 Southwest Va. counties in drug, money laundering investigation (2024)

FAQs

Police execute search warrants in 9 Southwest Va. counties in drug, money laundering investigation? ›

Authorities on Thursday executed two dozen search warrants across nine Southwest Virginia

Southwest Virginia
Counties that have been included in the definition of Southwest Virginia include: Alleghany County, Bedford County, Bland County, Botetourt County, Buchanan County, Carroll County, Craig County, Dickenson County, Floyd County, Franklin County, Giles County, Grayson County, Henry County, Lee County, Montgomery County, ...
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Southwest_Virginia
counties as part of “an extensive, ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of money laundering and illegal narcotic distribution network by retail establishments.”

Did Zarati shop get raided? ›

WISE COUNTY, Va. (WCYB) — Law enforcement in Wise County raided seven businesses regarding alleged illegal activities at local dispensary shops. Search warrants were executed at: Zarati Shop, Pound.

How to look up warrants in Virginia? ›

Individuals can visit their city or county police department or sheriff's office website to determine if someone has a warrant. These agencies usually publish warrant lists on their websites.

Did Zarati shop close? ›

In Pulaski County, there was one search warrant for the Zarati Shop in Pulaski, where two undercover purchases of marijuana were made in August and September 2023. Commonwealth's Attorney Justin Griffith said Friday that the store has remained closed since the search, and no charges have been filed.

What is a capias warrant in Virginia? ›

A capias warrant is a warrant for your arrest issued by a judge. In Virginia, capias warrants are most often issued by judges against criminal defendants or witnesses who fail to appear in court as scheduled.

Who is wanted in Virginia? ›

Most Wanted
  • Elmore James Taylor. Race: Black. Hair: Black. ...
  • Quonte Bullock. Race: Black. Hair: Black. ...
  • John Allove Shifflett. Race: White. Hair: Brown. ...
  • Dionte Tremaine Ruffin. Race: Black. Hair: Black. ...
  • Jayant Kadian. Race: White. Hair: Black. ...
  • Kenneth Euzell Graham. Race: White. ...
  • James Richard Page. Race: Black. ...
  • Thomas Brooks. Race: Black.

How to find out if you have a warrant in West Virginia? ›

Protect yourself by verifying your warrant status with GovernmentRegistry.org. The search just takes a couple of minutes and you will have the results immediately. If there is a warrant you can take care of the matter and clear your name up. West Virginia warrants can be issued for a number of things.

How to find out if you have a warrant in Virginia Beach? ›

The Virginia Beach Police Department lists outstanding arrests warrants and summonses online at ePro Active Warrant Search.

How do I find out if I have a warrant in Fairfax County? ›

To search for active arrest warrants in Fairfax County, individuals can use the online database provided by the Sheriff's Office. However, for a comprehensive search, it's best to contact the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office directly.

How do I find recent arrests in Virginia Beach? ›

Virginia Beach City Police Department (VBPD)

The VBPD maintains arrest records for incidents that occur within its jurisdiction. To access these records, submit a police FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request by filling out the online form or calling (757) 385-4145.

How to check if you have a warrant in NJ? ›

Many New Jersey counties offer online warrant databases. Check the counties' websites where you have lived or interacted with the legal system. Search for "[County Name] warrant search" on Google to find out if you have an active search warrant in your county.

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