NEW: Gas Station Manager Pleads Guilty
The former manager of a Harrisonburg gas station raided by police two years pleaded guilty today in Rockingham County Circuit Court.
Jignesh P. Rindani, 39, of Harrisonburg, was charged with one felony count of distribution of an imitation controlled substance.
As part of a plea deal, Rindani entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor illegal sale of alcohol.
Judge Everett Martin of Norfolk sentenced him to 270 days in jail with all but 20 suspended. He also tacked on a $2,500 fine.
Bryan Layton, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Warren County, prosecuted the case. The Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office recused itself from the case because Rindani was a former friend of an office employee.
Layton couldn’t be reached for comment.
Rindani’s defense attorney, John Elledge, declined to give the specific reasons behind the reduced charge.
“The commonwealth assessed the strength of their case and we comprised,” said Elledge.
Police say Rindani operated the Pure gas station and convenience store on the corner of North Main and Gay streets in downtown Harrisonburg.
Officers with the RUSH Drug Task Force raided the store on March 16, 2012, seizing what was described at the time as a "large quantity" of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Bath salts is a kind of stimulant that gives users a high similar to cocaine or methamphetamine.
The Virginia General Assembly targeted substances found in popular synthetic drugs in 2011. Some shops in the area, however, continued to sell bath salts ,and other types of synthetic drugs.
Police throughout the Valley responded with a public crackdown.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org