Ali Ahmed Qasem, 24, owner of Ali’s Quick Stop on the corner of 19th Street and Main St., was arrested just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning for possession of Khat, a foreign based drug.
(Khat is a drug that is comparable to marijuana. In parts of the Middle East, chewing Khat is seen as a socially accepted tradition, dating back thousands of years. The behavioral effects of the drug range from a state of euphoria to increased heartrate and hyper activity. It is listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States and was banned by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1993. SF)
Investigators with the Columbus Police Department were at the convenience store attempting to obtain surveillance video from a shooting that occurred Thursday night. While they were in the process of getting the video, investigators noticed a leafy green substance laying on the counter. When questioned, Qasem identified it as Khat, and claimed it as his. Qasem also claimed not knowing that the substance was illegal in the United States.
Metro-Narcotics Agent Sergeant Archie Williams was called to the scene and seized nearly six ounces of the marijuana-like drug. Qasem was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. His bond was set at $2,500.
In a press release issued by Public Information Officer Glenda Buckhalter, Chief of Police Selvain McQueen claims that “Ali’s Quick Stop is part of a larger drug distribution network that operates in this area.”
The release then went on to mention a drug bust that occurred on Nov. 8, 2011 at Robertson’s Garage at 1917 Main St.
Conducted by the Metro-Narcotics unit, two men were arrested for possession and sale of a controlled substance. Michael Terry Jr., 23, was arrested and charged with two counts of sale of a controlled substance and one count possession of a controlled substance. Michael Haney, 45, was arrested and charged with three counts of sale of a controlled substance.
According to the release, “that operation is still ongoing and more arrests will be made.”
When questioned by The Packet if drug activity was still taking place at Robertson’s Garage, Chief McQueen had no comment.
Of the alleged “ongoing operation” Metro-Narcotics Commander Bobby Grimes said, “It is not the practice of the narcotics unit to discuss ongoing investigations or to even discuss the possibility that there may be one.”
Other than Qasem’s arrest Tuesday morning, no other drug related arrests have occurred at Ali’s Quick Stop.
The shooting that brought investigators to Ali’s Quick Stop in the first place occurred on Thursday night around 9:15 p.m. for a call of “shots fired.” When police arrived on scene they were unable to locate a victim. Portis Thompson then drove into the parking lot of the convenience store and claimed that his vehicle had been struck twice by gunfire. Thompson said he was driving his 2004 GMC Denali when shots rang out and hit his vehicle, one in the passenger side door and another in the passenger window. Two casings from a 9 mm handgun were found in the street, near the Ali’s parking lot.
Thompson was not injured in the incident and the investigation is still ongoing.