An Albertson couple was arrested Wednesday after first responders investigating a reported smell of gas discovered 5,300 bags of synthetic marijuana.
Nassau County police said Williston Park Fire Department firefighters and county police officers responded to 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park on Oct. 4 at about 2:10 p.m. after receiving reports about a smell believed to be gas.
At the scene, first responders determined the smell to be coming from the basement of Simply Foot Spa, located nearby at 120 Hillside Ave.
Police were given access to the building by keyholders Sunita Shah, 57, and Rajesh Shah, 62, both of Albertson, and once inside, police said they saw several cans of chemicals and drug paraphernalia.
After the building was aired out and deemed safe by the county fire marshal, officers from the Third Squad, Narcotics Vice Squad, Emergency Services Unit and the Crime Scene Search Unit were able to investigate further.
Police said they recovered more than 20 pounds of loose synthetic marijuana and 5,300 bags of synthetic marijuana, valued at a quarter of a million dollars.
Sunita Shah and Rajesh Shah were placed under arrest. They were both charged with criminal possession precursor of a controlled substance, second degree reckless endangerment and illegal use of nitrous oxide.
Robert Schalk, a Mineola-based attorney representing the couple, said they do not manage the business location, but own it and lease it to another individual. They have no connection to the substances found, he said.
“These people have owned this business for over 30 years and neither one has had a scrape with the law,” Schalk said.
The Shahs were arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead and were released on their own recognizance.