Oakdale business owner sentenced for felony drug charge


Hatem Younis

An Oakdale business owner who pleaded guilty to fourth-degree drug charges related to one of his stores was sentenced April 12 to three years probation.

Last year, 45-year-old Hatem Amin Younis, who owns Smokedale Tobacco in Oakdale, was charged with three felony drug counts primarily related to the possession and alleged sale of synthetic drugs. 

Eventually, two of the three charges were dropped, and Younis pleaded guilty to fourth-degree possession and intent to sell Schedule 1, Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 drugs. 

Beyond his Oakdale store, Younis has stores in Minneapolis, Anoka and Big Lake, Minnesota, as well as Hudson and Menomonie, Wisconsin. His businesses remained open throughout the case.

Police investigations of Younis spanned almost four years. According to a criminal complaint, in August 2012 law enforcement began investigating Younis after learning the Oakdale Smokedale Tobacco store allegedly sold the synthetic hallucinogen implicated in a teenager’s death. 

A 2013 Drug Enforcement Agency raid of multiple Smokedale stores and Younis’ Afton home resulted in thousands of seized items, some of which tested positive for synthetic hallucinogens and stimulants. Detectives also reportedly interviewed informants who claimed to have purchased synthetic marijuana, synthetic hallucinogens and synthetic stimulants from the Oakdale Smokedale and from Younis directly. 

The Office of Diversion Control website states that synthetic stimulants can cause serious reactions including hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, violent outbursts and death. The website also states that even a small amount of synthetic hallucinogens can cause seizures, cardiac and respiratory arrest and death.

Beyond Younis’ three years of probation, he was fined $200 and given a stay of adjudication, which means that so long as he does not violate his probation there will be no conviction on his permanent record.

 

—Aundrea Kinney

 

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