Owner of smoke shop in Laconia busted for drug sales at Epsom store

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

CONCORD — Brett Scott, the owner of a chain of smoke and vape shops including Smokers Haven at Busy Corner in Laconia, this week pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a federal charge arising from the sale of improperly labelled synthetic cannabis, commonly known as "spice" or "K2."

The U.S. Attorney reported that agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration found that synthetic cannabis products, branded as "Colorado Kush" and "Ultra Peak," were being sold at Smoke N Discount in Epsom, one of the four stores owned and operated by Scott. In his plea agreement Scott agreed to forfeit $30,000 to the federal government. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12.

Synthetic cannabis is a leafy green material sprayed with chemicals that mimic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, commonly known by its street names of "spice," "K2" and "Smacked." It is generally marketed as incense or potpourri in attractive packaging. Although often labelled "not for human consumption," these products are smoked to get high. The chemicals, which produce the high, are either illegal controlled substances or analogues of them, which may cause harmful side effects and have led to numerous hospitalizations.

Federal prosecutors charged that the synthetic cannabinoids sold at Smoke N Discount were labelled incorrectly in several ways. The products were described as not for human consumption when they were intended for just that. The labels indicated what the packages did not contain to suggest the products were not unlawful, but failed to identify the ingredients they did contain. The packaging bore no information about the manufacturer, packager or distributor of the products nor did carry adequate directions or warnings for using the products.

Last year Scott opened Smokers Haven at the corner of Winter Street.The inventory ranges from the conventional to the exotic, to include tobacco, cigarettes, rolling papers, pipes, water pipes, vaporizers, electric cigarettes, incense and other accessories. The store also houses a hookah lounge, or shisha bar, where patrons can enjoy as many as 100 flavors of mu'assel or shisha, a syrupy tobacco mix laced with molasses and flavored with fruits, herbs and even gummy bears.
In the summer of 2014, Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency after 40 residents of Manchester suffered severe reactions to synthetic cannabinoids. A year later the New Hampshire Legislature prohibited the possession and sale of synthetic cannabinoids. Under the state law, possession of synthetic cannibinoids is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a fine. The sale of synthetic cannabinoids, is a Class A felony punishable by fines of up to $2,000 and sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

Potter Hill Road residents want to slow speeders with unpaved road

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — In an unusual twist to local road woes, the residents of Potter Hill Road have asked the town to maintain their road as a "country road."

In effect, this means letting the pavement degrade to gravel, which would save the the town $250,000 next year, and reduce the speeding along the perceived shortcut to Gilford Village.

"We have a speeding problem," said Gary Kiedaisch, who spoke for the people who live along the road, many of them who were at Wednesday's meeting.

Statistics provided by Kiedaisch and obtained from the police who used a JAMAR radar unit from Aug. 4 to 22 indicate that 35 percent of the total of 1,757 cars that passed the unit were traveling 11 mph or more over the posted limit of 25 mph.

Thirty-nine percent of them were traveling at these rates while headed toward Gilford Village and 32 percent of them were traveling away from Gilford Village.

Recordings in July 2014 were slightly higher and showed that 37 percent headed into the village were speeding while 41 percent going away from the village were speeding.

Notably, said Kiedaisch, 13 percent of the traffic in July 2014 and 11 percent of the traffic in August 2016 were traveling at 41 mph or greater, or about 60 percent higher than the speed limit.

Residents believe that reconstructing the road will only make people more inclined to use it and will add to the speeding problem that already exists.

The five-year local road maintenance plan calls for the reconstruction of Potter Hill Road and includes a "T" intersection at the eastern side. All agree that eliminating what looks like a ramp access to Potter Hill from Cherry Valley Road will reduce some of the problem.

Kiedaisch also said that the speeders on Potter Hill are local people.

"We can tell you who they are," he said, indicating that traffic increases in around school time in the mornings and afternoons in the winter and when the Community Center opens and closes in the summer time.

Kiedaisch said permanent police patrols with officers who give tickets instead of warnings would send a strong message to people and would ultimately deter speeding along Potter Hill Road.

Police Chief Tony Bean Burpee said at the meeting he had no statistics at hand but would provided them to selectmen.

"We can and have stepped up directed patrols," he said, adding that his department makes at least 4,000 traffic stops a year.

He said his one fear is that ticketing will take speeders off Potter Hill Road and push them to Cherry Valley Road.

"Directed patrols work while we're there," he said.

Public Works Director Peter Nourse said letting the road degrade to gravel is not a good idea, but supports a "T" intersection with Cherry Valley Road.

He said gravel roads create dust control issues and won't correct some of the drainage issues that exist on Potter Hill Road.

"I don't want to fix the drainage and leave a wreckage of a road," he said.

Selectmen said they would meet at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, which is an hour before their scheduled meeting, to look at the road and decide what to do.

Local man charged with trespass, beating man

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A local man is being held on a total of $21,000 cash-only bail and faces a host of charges for two separate crimes committed within three weeks of each other.

On July 26 or 27, Justin R. Travis, 21, of or formerly of 222 Hilliard Road allegedly forced his way into one of the rear buildings at the Stafford Oil Company, where he was found by an employee whose job it is to check the property each morning.

He told the police that one of the windows was broken and the door appeared to have been forced open.

The employee told police that he confronted Travis inside and the two struggled after the employee told Travis not the move as he was calling the police.

He said Travis dropped to the floor but returned to his feet brandishing a "black knife with a green sheath" which police described as a tactical knife.

Travis allegedly told the employee, "I have a knife and I ain't (expletive) around." The employee stepped back and gave Travis leeway to escape from the building.

Travis fled and was arrested within minutes by police after an officer found someone matching his description walking on nearby Winnisquam Street.

After his arrest and after being read his rights, Travis allegedly told police he entered the building and brandished the knife so he could get away.

He was charged with a felony count of criminal threatening with a knife, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. He was ordered held on $1,000 cash.

On Friday, police charged Travis, who was still incarcerated, with two counts of robbery, and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery for allegedly beating up his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend and stealing his headphones.

In affidavits filed Friday with Belknap County Superior Court, police said that on July 5 Travis allegedly accosted a man while he was walking near the Laconia Library around 1:50 a.m.

Police said they were called to 179 B Pleasant St. for a report of man who had been the victim of an assault and found him lying unresponsive in the doorway.

The victim's girlfriend told them he had allegedly been assaulted by Travis, who the officer had just seen as he was on his was to the call. He also noticed Travis was with a tall white man with dark hair and shorts. The two were seen walking on Church Street near the Laconia Spa.

Once the victim was at the hospital and had regained consciousness, he told police that he was walking by the library when Travis saw him and asked if he was the new boyfriend.

He said when he replied in the affirmative, Travis tried to entice him into a fight behind the library but the victim said he ignored him and kept walking.

The victim said Travis said something to him and when he turned around, Travis allegedly punched him in the face. He said Travis punched him two more times in the face and then the man Travis was with also punched him.

As he tried to defend himself, the victim said he started wrestling with the unknown second man, and that Travis tried to kick him in the groin. He said he fell to the ground to protect himself and Travis allegedly stomped on his head a four or five times.

He said he heard Travis tell his friend to grab his headphones. Once the two left him, the victim said he realized his cell phone had been taken.

He told police he was in too much pain to walk to the police department, so he walked to his girlfriend's house on Pleasant Street to report the crime.

Police photographed pictures of injuries to the victim's face, torso and legs.

Once daylight came, police searched the area where the victim said he was assaulted and found an arm for some headphones and part of the victim's sunglasses that the victim identified as his.
Travis entered a not guilty plea in Belknap County Superior Court and was ordered held on $20,000 cash bail.

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