Published December 21, 2015 by Jane Glenn Cannon (NewsOK)
NORMAN, OK – For the second time in a month, Norman police served a search warrant Monday at The Friendly Market, a southside pipe and novelty store, confiscating merchandise and money.
City Councilman Stephen Holman, who serves as general manager of the store at 1100 E Constitution Ave., said he had no way of knowing whether the raid will lead to further charges being filed against him.
Holman, 31, who represents Ward 7, and store owner Robert Winston Cox, 62, each face a felony drug count of acquiring proceeds from drug activity, as well as six counts each of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from an earlier raid.
“They took the same exact types of items this time. I guess they were mad that we restocked,” Holman said.
Police first raided the store Dec. 7, with charges being filed against Holman and Cox on Dec. 10. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Holman alleges the charges might be politically motivated because he has questioned police’s use of civil forfeiture funds and the department’s attempts to use such funds to purchase a Bear Cat armored vehicle. Police officials say that has nothing to do with actions taken.
On Dec. 7, police seized glass pipes, rolling papers, cash and miscellaneous merchandise. In Monday’s raid, Holman said they seized items from recently restocked shelves and one day’s proceeds from sales. Cox and his attorneys contend items sold at the store are within the law.
The items such as glass pipes and rolling papers can be used for tobacco. No illegal substances are sold at the store, Holman has said.
Holman says he accepted employment at the store about three and a half months ago after first conferring with the city attorney about it and being told it wasn’t a problem.
Assistant City Attorney Rick Knighton said Holman’s employment at the store was neither approved nor disapproved by city officials.
Holman said he was not at the store when the raid began about 11 a.m. Monday but arrived shortly after. He said an employee told him that agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency were involved “but I personally never saw any DEA agents. All I saw were Norman police, the same detectives that raided the store last time.”
The store reopened for business as soon as police officers left the store about 4:30 p.m. The store will open for business as usual Tuesday, Holman said.
The councilman said police officers covered their faces and dodged cameras as they left the store.Follow @FortySixNews