Seven employees from two Houma businesses are accused of selling synthetic marijuana from their businesses, and deputies began to search the businesses and for the employees Tuesday, a Terrebonne drug task force official said.
Undercover agents have been purchasing synthetic marijuana from the Hippie Hole, 238 N. Hollywood Road, and Herbal Connexxion, 6042 W. Park Ave., for the past six months, said Agent Darryl Stewart, who is an assistant supervisor with the Terrebonne Parish Narcotics Task Force.
Agents said they submitted these purchased items to the State Police crime lab, which revealed they were synthetic marijuana.
“The main source of business for both of these commercial locations was the selling of synthetic materials and paraphernalia associated with its usage,” the task force said in a release.
The state deemed these compounds illegal in August, Stewart said.
The Hippie Hole was selling a brand of synthetic marijuana called Mojo. Herbal Connexxion employees were making its synthetic marijuana themselves, which agents did not realize until the Tuesday search, Stewart said.
Two of the accused Hippie Hole employees are from Des Allemands and one is from Montegut; they were arrested Tuesday, Stewart said. An Herbal Connexxion employee from Houma was also arrested Tuesday, and police are still searching for three employees from that store who are from Marrero.
Deputies said they expect more people to be accused in the future as the investigation continues.
From the Hippie Hole: John and Amanda Matranga, 147 Dixie Drive, Des Allemands, and Jamie Jones, 120 S. Louisiana Drive, Montegut, are each accused of three counts of distributing synthetic compounds, three counts of possession with intent to distribute synthetic compounds, three counts of mingling harmful substances. and three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
From Herbal Connexxion: Jeremy Venable, 31, 552 Avenue A, Apartment B, Marrero; Jeffry Venable, 31, 511 Avenue A, Apartment B, Marrero; and Steven Gindy, 32, 2621 Delta Pointe Drive, Marrero, are each accused of five counts of each of the same charges.
The Venables are twins, Stewart said.
Herbal Connexxion employee Angela Maury, 29, 204 Country Boy Court, Houma, is only accused of one count each of the same charges.
Agents are still involved in the investigation, so the outcome of the searches is not yet available, the task force said. Further details on those findings will be released as they develop.