York County, Va. – The owner of Bonsai Pipe and Tobacco has been arrested along with several others on federal charges of conspiracy and sale and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms-related charges.
Salvatore Lopiccolo, Matthew Kidd-Hux, John Woodin, Marcus Woods, and Meghan Stout were all arrested officials say.
Lopiccolo has been identified as the owner of the business.
Investigators searched the Bonsai Pipe and Tobacco stores in York County and Hampton as well as four homes on Thursday morning.
According to the indictment, officials say they found detectable amounts of crack cocaine, marijuana, mushrooms, synthetic marijuana blends, methylone, bath salts and drug paraphernalia.
John Ranalet manages County Gold Buyers, a few doors down from Bonsai in the Grafton Shopping Center in Yorktown.
Since the smoke shop and hookah bar opened less than two years ago, Ranalet says he noticed some suspicious behavior from bonsai customers.
“I could tell that a lot of them were under the influence of something, so I couldn’t tell you what for sure, but I have noticed a lot more shady, suspicious characters out here since that place has been open,” says Ranalet.
The five arrests came after a two-year investigation into the drug sales.
“I just saw them wheeling stuff in and putting them on trolleys, people coming in and out. I didn’t know what exactly was going on,” says Ranalet.
If convicted, all individuals arrested could face several years in prison.