Singh Family Arrested in Muncie, Yorktown Bath Salts Drug Scam
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - The Singh family and their fine line of Marathon and BP convenience stores got busted Monday for alleged racketeering and sale of bath salts and other drugs.
More than 60 law enforcement officers participated in the biggest drug enforcement action involving bath salts in Indiana history by closing the Singh chain of convenience stores that attracted plenty of attention from Indianapolis television, and residents of Orchard Apartment across the street from BP convenience store at Wheeling and Centennial avenues.
Even Chris Hiatt who owns nearby Hiatt Printing, came out and wondered what the police action that closed the store was about. "They got Sonny?" Hiatt asked, referring to Sonny Singh, who was formally charged with felony money laundering and drug dealing.
Actually, many people could not help but notice that police tape surrounded five convenience stores in Muncie and the Yorktown Food Mart in Yorktown. The others include Marathon pumps at 901 E. Main St., 1701 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 4849 N. Broadway, and a Citgo convenience store at 3401 E. Memorial Drive.
The biggest action was at Singh's BP store at Wheeling and Centennial, since other employees and family members live in nearby Orchard Apartments.Police from Muncie, Delaware County, Anderson, and the Indiana State Police and Indiana Excise Police hit all the stores and Singh's apartments and office in Indianapolis around 9 a.m. Monday.
Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold held a made for television event in front of the Delaware County Justice Center around noon that attracted Fox and CBS affiliated and their crews.
In recent days, the prosecutor filed criminal charges and a civil lawsuit eight people involved in the ownership and operation of the convenience stores doing business under the name of 1630 Wheeling Avenue BP. The registered agent is Sukhwinder Singh, 7642 Balleyshannon St., Indianapolis, with the principal and vice president, Harpreet Singh. That property on Wheeling was later deeded to Sonny and Jugdad Food Mart in 2006.
Harpreet Singh was formally charged with seven felonies ranging from money laundering, corrupt business influence and dealing. Drug task force agents reported bought bath salts from Singh and other family and friend in undercover actions in recent months.
Venod and Ramesh Kumar, along with Monty Singh, Sonny Singh, Manpreet Singh, and Hardeep Singh, were charged with related felonies and misdemeanors involving drug dealing or money laundering and corrupt business practices.
The convenience stores were all shut down for about three hours while records, tapes and other information were taken from the store and the Singh's apartments.- not to mention their fast and furious IROC Camaros.
Arnold said steps were also taken to file a civil suit against the convenience stores alleging racketing activity commonly known as a RICO case. That action wants assets and forfeiture of property along with other court relief. Attorney Dan Gibson is handling that action since state law requires any drug forfeiture to be ordered by court.
Delaware County Sheriff Michael Scroggins and Muncie Police Chief Steve Stewart could not recall a larger police operation involving drug enforcement in recent history. Scroggins did say bath salts was suspected as the cause in a couple of recent traffic fatalities, and it's use is growing because it is a cheap and easy high, either smoked or snorted.
Arnold said authorities had plenty of calls that bath salts were being sold behind the counter or by the Singhs.
The Indiana General Assembly just made sale of bath salts and other synthetic drugs illegal last year, and Monday's crackdown was the first major effort in Indiana to enforce that law. Some convenience stores have been selling synthetic drugs on a speak easy basis.