Bond raised to $5M for couple accused of selling synthetic drugs
A couple arrested at the center of a synthetic drug selling ring may be locked behind bars until trial.
In what appears an unprecedented move, a judge increased the bond for Gurcharn Singh and Jaswinder Kaur from a half-million dollars to $5 million each, sending a message statewide about dealing "Spice" and other look-alike drugs in Indiana.
"We cannot allow for people to profit by selling substances that are killing our youth," said Curtis Hill, the Elkhart County prosecutor during a press conference following the arrest.
Targets in a federal, state and county investigation, the couple was arrested during a raid of six gas stations and a private home in northern Indiana. Since last July, undercover officers purchased synthetic drugs like "Spice" and other look-alike substances at the businesses.
"They look pretty friendly, they look like things that might not necessarily be dangerous, so parents might not be aware of the problem themselves," said Hill, explaining the importance of the raids.
Hill asked for the $5 million bond as investigators logged nearly $2 Million in 10 bank accounts and seized thousands of drug packets, cash, and weapons.
The push to keep "John" and "Jasmine," as they're known on the street, behind bars is getting praise from lawmakers at the Indiana Statehouse.
"$5 million is the right bond amount rather than $500,000, because first of all, it keeps those people in jail, number one, but two, it sends a message to all retailers around the state of Indiana that this is just not the place," said Senator Jim Merritt of Indianapolis.
Just last month, it was confirmed two central Indiana teens died after using synthetic drugs. Merritt says the Elkhart County case also sends a strong warning - one he wants to back up with new legislation next year.
It's important to note that federal immigration officials are also investigating the couple, who are reportedly in the United States illegally and may be considered a flight risk.
Still, the case is drawing attention because it involves "boutique drugs" concocted with dangerous chemicals, yet lawmakers are treating it as if it were real marijuana and other drugs.
Merritt says the next step is getting the law changed to increase the punishment for dealing synthetic drugs.