New Mississippi law honors deputy, cracks down on bath salts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New Mississippi law honors deputy, cracks down on bath salts

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

RIPLEY, MS (WMC-TV) - Authorities in Tippah County were able to cut off the supply of a newly illegal drug because of a new law that honors a fallen sheriff's deputy.

A gas station in downtown Ripley was selling more than snacks and sodas. It was the place to purchase a product that's marketed as bath salts, but is really a substance being used to get high.

"We've known about it and have been tracking it about a year, but the last six months it's really become a problem for us," Tippah County Sheriff Karl Gaillard said.

It was a problem that was tough for Gaillard to fight until last week, when the Mississippi legislature passed a law making so-called bath salts illegal.

"When the law came into effect, then we treated it like any other narcotics investigation," he said.

Tuesday, store owner Sadat Badr was arrested when deputies confiscated $86,000 worth of bath salts. More than 1,700 quarter gram packets were being sold for $50 each.  

The law that made it all possible is the Crenshaw Act, named for Tippah County sheriff's deputy Dewayne Crenshaw, who was shot to death last December while responding to a disturbance call.

"It was later discovered that the subject that did that was high on bath salts," Gaillard said.

And because of the new law, the punishment for selling the substance is the same as if it were a bag of cocaine or heroin.

Gaillard is grateful the law honors one of their own, and helps crack down on a drug problem that was plaguing his community.

"They'll find a way to get it," he said. "I'm sure it will be back. But for now we've cut the supply to our county."

Sadat Badr was charged with possession with intent to sell, and those charges were enhanced because the product was being sold within 1,500 feet of a school.

He could get 15 years behind bars if convicted.

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