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Associated Press, Published December 28 2012

10 at Bismarck skateboard shop face drug charges

BISMARCK – The owner and manager of a downtown Bismarck skateboard shop and eight of their employees have been charged with selling illegal synthetic drugs after a yearlong investigation, authorities said.

The law enforcement officers began investigating substances being sold at Discontent in January, after they seized a package of synthetic marijuana from a man who claimed he had purchased it at the store. Other packages of the synthetic drug also were seized over the next several months, allegedly originating from the skate shop.

Discontent owner Thomas Teply, 59, of Moorhead, and manager Steven Johnson, 29, of Bismarck, face several felony charges, including conspiracy to deliver synthetic cannabinoids.

Employees Nicholas Kantor, 22; Edison Sprynczynatyk, 23; Bradley Weigum, 29; Nathan Wilson, 19; Amanda Johnson, 22; Tyler Bohl, 21; David Heid, 22; and Thomas Palanuk, 28, have been charged with felony delivery of synthetic cannabinoids and felony delivery of drug paraphernalia.

Johnson, the store manager, referred all questions to the Vogel Law Firm. Attorney James Cailao confirmed that the law firm “is involved in the matter” but declined further comment.

The North Dakota Board of Pharmacy used an emergency rule in February 2010 to outlaw numerous chemicals being used to make synthetic versions of common street drugs. The 2011 North Dakota Legislature expanded the law, but the state crime laboratory began seeing new chemicals in substances within weeks of the laws being put into effect.

The Board of Pharmacy again expanded the law in December, and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has said more efforts will be made to strengthen the law to stop the use and distribution of such substances.

The 10 people associated with Discontent are charged with offenses under the law prior to new rules enacted by the Board of Pharmacy earlier this month, authorities said.