Life after smoke shop raid - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Life after smoke shop raid

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Neighbors in the Eastway Park/Sheffield Park neighborhood say life has finally returned to normal.

"You didn't have to worry about running into people you didn't know and really be a little bit fearful for your life" says Carolyn Millen.

Millen, the President of the Neighborhood Association, says when police raided Queen City Smoke and Novelty Shop on Independence Boulevard back in May, the community breathed a sign of relief.

Millen says residents suspected the store was selling synthetic drugs.

She says some of the customers "could be either coming up like pan handlers and begging for money. They would approach people's houses" and Millen added "the looks on their faces were very crazed looks."

Neighbors believe the spike in burglaries in the area was tied to some of the customers who they say used to wander around the streets.

"It's not 100% proven" says Millen. "Just strange that people who were walking up and down our street were showing up at Queen City."

Business owners near Queen City Smoke say they too saw a problem with some of the customers.

Delonda Geiger, who owns Downsizing Divas and Dons Fitness Studio, says "we would be working out, and they would be hanging out and coming in. Over the last two months it got really bad."

Geiger says "if I would come in like early in the morning like 8, they were out there hanging out. You could tell they were ready for a quick fix."

Then early May CMPD moved in and raided the store.

Attorney Brad Smith, who represents the shop's owners, says three people have been charged with trafficking.  Police think it's bath salts and other designer synthetic drugs.

Attorney Smith says his clients are innocent until proven guilty. He says he's still waiting for chemical analysis of the items police seized.

But Millen, the President of the Neighborhood Association says, since the raid at Queen City Smoke and Novelty - the streets near the shop are quiet again.

She says people started going to eat at the diner near Queen City Smoke.

"It was like you go up there and eat at restaurants and not be worried about somebody coming up and begging you for money or accosting you" says Millen.

Delonda Geiger, of the Fitness Studio, says since the raid it has been "quiet. I very rarely see anybody now."

Millen says the crack down on synthetic drugs is a good thing.

"And seeing they're going through busting other smoke shops now through out the community is going to help all of Charlotte" Millen says.

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