Synthetic drug ‘spice’ seized from smoke shop, clerk arrested

SAN DIEGO -- About two pounds of the synthetic drug known as spice was seized from a Hillcrest smoke shop Thursday and a clerk was arrested after San Diego police narcotics detectives served a search warrant at the business.

Ossam Shaba, 55, a clerk at Andy's Smoke Shop in the 500 block of University Avenue, was arrested after detectives found the spice in bulk and packaged for sale in the store, in his car and in his possession, according to Lt. Matt Novak.

Shaba was booked into the Central Detention Facility downtown on suspicion of violating a court order and possession for sale of synthetic drugs. He faces six months in jail, three years probation and a $1,000 fine if convicted, Novak said.

This is not the first time Andy's Smoke Shop has been accused of selling spice. Employees agreed in May to stop selling spice after meeting with representatives of the San Diego City Attorney's Office. Then the employees were notified a month later that the city had enacted a new law making spice sales illegal. Two weeks later, employees were served with a court order prohibiting spice sales from the store, according to narcotics detectives.

Then earlier this month, detectives discovered that the store was allegedly still selling the synthetic marijuana and got the search warrant that was served Thursday.

The case will be turned over to the city attorney's office for prosecution, according to Novak.