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Stores manager pleads guilty in synthetic drugs case

MUNCIE, Ind. – The manager of two central Indiana convenience stores where authorities say synthetic drugs known commonly as bath salts and spice were sold has pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Harpreet Singh, 27, made the guilty plea to a felony charge of corrupt business influence during a Delaware County court hearing Monday. He was among eight people arrested in June 2012 after police raids of six convenience stores in Muncie and Yorktown, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/17dBUZF).

Deputy prosecutor Eric Hoffman described Singh’s role in the scheme as the most significant of those involved.

Five of those arrested already have entered guilty pleas, and two others – both store clerks – are scheduled to plead guilty on Nov. 12.

Singh testified Monday that was involved in “all aspects” of operations at two conveniences stores, including the sale of the synthetic drugs. Singh also admitted selling one of the controlled substances to an undercover police officer.

State laws enacted in recent years aim to ban the distribution and possession of various synthetic drugs, including bath salts and spice.

Singh’s plea agreement calls for a maximum four-year prison term. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2.

Most of Singh’s co-defendants had entered the U.S. illegally, authorities said, and several have since been deported to India. Singh, who is a native of India, told the judge he is a U.S. citizen.

His plea deal with prosecutors calls for the dismissal of six other charges, including money laundering and dealing in a controlled substance.

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