Bogus dope bust charges won't stick; clerk says

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

One of two store clerks busted a week ago on charges they allegedly sold synthetic marijuana says he has a laboratory report that will exonerate him.

"We sold potpourri that did not contain Salvia, and I have lab reports to back that up," Timothy Wayne Nafe Jr., 30, of Cornersville said in an e-mail to the Tribune.

Salvia is one of the ingredients of synthetic marijuana and Nafe said that his family's store, Pat's Puffs N Stuff on East Commerce Street, took potpourri off the shelves and disposed of it months ago after police action in Murfreesboro led them to suspect they might also have a problematic product.

Proof that Pat's Puffs N Stuff wasn't selling potpourri with synthetic marijuana is in a report from the RTPB Lab, Nafe said, indicating the laboratory is in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.

"The report came from the wholesaler and he got it from the manufacturer," Nafe said, contending that what was offered for sale last week is legal.

"The wholesaler said he had products he could ... send. There are some products he could not send, like the bath salts, which we didn't want to sell anyway. We weren't into the bath salts. We just wanted to sell herbal potpourri," Nafe said.

Pat's Puffs N Stuff is owned by Pat and Tim Nafe Sr., the sales clerk said. His father and stepmother "have gone and talked to an attorney" to serve as legal counsel in his case.

Whole Earth Packaging in California is the supplier of the potpourri Nafe allegedly sold illegally to an undercover agent of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force, an arm of the District Attorney's office.

Task Force Director Tim Lane and Assistant Director Tim Miller were sent an e-mail to obtain information about the raids that also included the store Gravity on West Commerce Street. No response had been received by press time Tuesday. Voice mail messages hadn't been answered either.

Sheriff Norman Dalton was also asked for information and he replied with an e-mail saying, "The task force has the answer to the questions about the purchases."

Nafe objected last week to the way the Tribune listed the charge he faces. It came from a county jail record showing that he was charged with violation of a state law against production, manufacture and distribution of Salvia.

"The jailor wrote the information from inside the warrant onto the booking log," Dalton said, thereby accurately reflecting the caption of the law, although the charge, as listed on the front of the warrant as "sale of Salvia Divinorum."

Monday, Nafe agreed the warrant includes both phrases.

Pat's Puffs N Stuff was opened on May 28, 2009, as a discount tobacco and beer store, Nafe said.

"We just recently got into the potpourri business because people asked for it and it was a real moneymaker," he said. "After Murfreesboro stores were raided in August, we pulled all the product and got rid of it and then got back into it this fall."

Reintroduction of potpourri on the family's store shelves "was based on a statement from Whole Earth Packaging," Nafe said.

Nafe fully expects to be vindicated, he said, adding, "If we should be charged with it, the shipper should be charged."