A Killeen man arrested in what was called the largest seizure of synthetic marijuana in Bell County’s history will walk free after lawyers found inconsistencies with Killeen police statements.
Anthony Joseph, the 43-year-old proprietor of the Rancier Avenue business Smoke Shop that closed after his arrest, was charged with three felonies and could have faced life in prison for allegedly selling and possessing thousands of dollars worth of synthetic cannabis often known as “Spice” or “K2.”
Police from the multiagency Bell County Organized Crime Unit raided Joseph’s business based on the investigation of Killeen police Sgt. Eureka Williams.
Williams, who was a detective at the time, filed a search warrant affidavit stating a substance obtained from the business by a confidential informant tested positive as synthetic cannabis. However, Joseph’s attorney, David Fernandez, uncovered a report Williams created two days prior stating the substance was not synthetic marijuana.
Fernandez said Williams lied to a local judge when she filed the sworn affidavit, while the department’s spokeswoman Carroll Smith said the inconsistency was “human error” with “no malice in its intent.”
“Detective Eureka Williams, the lead detective in Anthony Joseph’s case, misled and deceived Judge Cooke in a sworn search warrant affidavit in order to get a search warrant for the Smoke Shack,” Fernandez wrote in an emailed statement.
A copy of the report stated Williams provided the informant with $60 on Sept. 25 to buy synthetic cannabis from the smoke shop. The informat purchased 10.5 grams of the substance, which later tested as negative.
The report concludes with stating the case is closed and the evidence should be destroyed.
Two days later, Williams filed a search warrant affidavit with Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke in which she stated the substance tested positive as an illegal drug.
The Bell County District Attorney’s Office dismissed charges against Joseph on Friday, “in the name of justice,” according to court documents.
“It is not an action we take lightly or one we do with frequency,” District Attorney Henry Garza said. “We had a host of issues that had developed related to this prosecution.”
Police first arrested Joseph in September after raiding his business. They charged him again in February after searching his home. In total, police found more than a kilogram of suspected synthetic cannabis.
Officers also seized more than $60,000 in cash and Joseph’s vehicle. They will all be returned to him now that the cases against him have been thrown out, Fernandez said.
Smith, the police spokeswoman, noted that much of the substances later seized by police did test positive as synthetic cannabis. Fernandez said about 3 grams tested positive. The district attorney said many jurisdictions are dealing with issues of chemists changing the formula of synthetic cannabis to avoid detection.
“The manner of formula is frequently changed after a law is changed,” Garza said.
Williams is a 10-year veteran of KPD. She was promoted to sergeant in March and supervises the patrol division’s p.m. shift.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.