Ibrehim Bechwati, 40, owner of Hi-Times Tobacco, 3310 N. Tracy Blvd., was arraigned in the Manteca branch of San Joaquin County Superior Court on Monday, May 6, on charges of possession of a controlled substance
or sale, distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm and commission of a felony while armed.
list and sent letters to put those employees on notice. Out of the original 20.8, 19 requested a review hearing.
On April 30, administrative law judge Ann Elizabeth Sarli ruled to uphold the board’s decision.
He was also charged with possession of metal knuckles for sale, possession of a billy club for sale and possession of a switchblade knife for sale.
On Tuesday, May 7, Bechwati was not listed as an inmate in the San Joaquin County Jail, according to the sheriff’s website.
According to Stephanie Bohrer, public information officer for the superior court, Bechwati has hired John Noonan as his attorney.
Bechwati was arrested May 2 following several months of investigation into the alleged sale of bath salts and illegal weapons at the tobacco store.
He was arrested when officers served a search warrant at the store and at his home in Dublin, according to a press release May 2 from Sgt. Alex Neicu of the Tracy Police Department.
Neicu said the police received a number of calls from Tracy residents and one from out of town that bath salts were being sold at the store.
During a search of the store, located in the Valley Shopping Center on the corner of Tracy Boulevard and Clover Road, officers confiscated anabolic steroids, a semiautomatic Glock pistol and other illegal weapons, including metal knuckles, batons and butterfly knives.
More than $40,000 was taken as evidence during the search and will be added to the police forfeiture account.
Officers from the Special Investigations Unit of the Tracy police also collected more than 600 vials of bath salts, a synthetic form of methamphetamine, according to Neicu.
Each vial contained 0.5 gram, and the total street value is estimated at $34,000.
Neicu said the police have not forced the shop to close, but it could be shut down in the future if code violations are found.
A customer was seen trying to open the front doors of the business Tuesday, but they appeared locked and the lights were turned off.
Bath salts are known by many street names, including “glass cleaner,” and are ingested by snorting, swallowing or injecting, according to the release.
The salts have similar effects to methamphetamine and are used as an alternative to that drug.
Use can cause agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, chest pains and high blood pressure. The package label states: “Not for human consumption.”
The next court appearance for Bechwati, for further arraignment and pretrial conference, is 8:30 a.m. June 28.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or email@example.com.