The manager of a gas station and convenience store at 15th Street and Quintard Avenue and a delivery driver were charged with drug crimes Wednesday night, after investigators intercepted a large shipment of kratom, officials said Thursday.
“Investigators executed a search warrant and caught the delivery of 68 pounds of kratom,” Chief Deputy Matthew Wade of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference. “We also confiscated about $23,000 in cash.”
A Calhoun County deputy sat parked in a patrol car outside of the store at 15th Street and Quintard Avenue on Thursday. Yellow tape circled the property, and the store was closed.
Kratom is a native plant of Southeast Asia, and is a part of the coffee family. It was sold in convenience stores in the state, and can be taken as a drink, dietary supplement or as a powder. In May, the Legislature passed a bill to add mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine — two alkaloids in the kratom plant — to the list of controlled substances.
According to Alabama law, it is a felony to possess kratom.
Ahmed Kamal Musa, the store manager, and Mahmoud Ha Masalma, the delivery driver, were both arrested and charged Wednesday night with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, Wade said. Masalma and Musa’s bond and court dates have not been set, Wade said.
“This is not FDA approved, not cleared or supervised by anyone,” Wade said responding to people outraged by the kratom ban. “It ain’t okay for my 15-year-old to have access to that. All it takes is one bad choice and then they are hooked. If I have to make someone mad doing that, I will do that — especially to protect our children.”