Mississippi convenience store owner arrested, accused of selling ‘gas station heroin’

Published 5:52 am Friday, September 22, 2023

A Mississippi convenience store owner has been arrested and faces charges of selling a substance known as gas station heroin.

Mitul Naresh Patel, 40, has been charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

Earlier this year, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law that bans tianeptine, which has been sold under brand names like ZaZa Red and Tianna. The drug was commonly sold as supplements in gas stations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that tianeptine has similar addictive qualities and withdrawal symptoms to opioids.

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The new law makes simple possession of less than 100 pills a misdemeanor, and trafficking or intent to sell is considered a felony offense.

Earlier this week WTVA in Tueplo reports that officials from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover drug trafficking investigation and went inside the Country Mart store off of Julia Road and Hwy 182 East in Columbus. Agents reportedly were able to buy up to $100 worth of the drug.

After agents were able to obtain a search warrant, they returned to the store and discovered several bottes of Zaza and other drugs that contain tianeptine. They also seized about $2,000 worth of cash.