The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

December 28, 2013

Frankston convenience store owner indicted by grand jury

By MARY RAINWATER
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

An Anderson County grand jury returned a 2-count felony indictment against Frankston convenience store owner Phillip Chang on Dec. 5 for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana and other illegal substances out of his store.

Chang, 52, who operated P.C. Corner Store in Frankston, is accused of possession of synthetic controlled substance with the intent to deliver and manufacturing a simulated controlled substance with the intent to deliver.

Possession of a synthetic controlled substance with the intent to deliver is a second degree felony with a range of punishment of 2 years to 20 years in prison. Manufacture of a simulated controlled substance with the intent to deliver is a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of 2 years in state jail.

According to Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, Chang’s arrest on April 23 was the result of an investigation started in February by Frankston Police Chief Darren Goodman.

During the April 23 raid on Chang’s store, Frankston police and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized $7,134.55 in cash, a small amount of synthetic marijuana, and approximately 3 pounds of what officers believed was a controlled substance or simulated controlled substance.

The 2011 Texas Legislature enacted legislation aimed at the sale of synthetic marijuana and other chemical compounds which create marijuana-like or drug effects on individuals. The chemicals sold as bath salts or potpourris are consumed for intoxicating effects, but often cause very serious and deadly side effects.

One of the first synthetic substances to hit the market was called “K2” or “Spice.”

“However, in short time after the legislature acted the makers of these poisons ever so slightly changed the chemical makeup to attempt to evade the banned list of substances,” Lowe said. “It seems as fast as we ban one of compounds these ‘mad scientists’ alter the formula just enough so our law enforcement labs have difficulty in making the determination the substance is illegal.”

Chang’s wife, Que Chau Truang was arrested for possession of a dangerous drug and another person, Michael Lee, was detained and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia during the April search.

Chang’s bail bond was set by District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher at $25,000.