Responding to a report of a possible gas leak at a foot spa on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park on Wednesday, county and village first responders discovered more than 20 pounds of loose synthetic marijuana and 5,300 bags of synthetic marijuana, according to the Nassau County Major Case Bureau.
Sunita Shah, 57, and Rajeesh Shah, 62, a husband and wife from Albertson who operated Simply Foot Spa at 120 Hillside Ave,. were both charged with criminal possession precursor of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment 2nd degree and the illegal use of nitrous oxide.
They were arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead on Thursday, Oct. 5, according to Nassau County police.
The recovered street value of the marijuana was estimated at a quarter of a million dollars.
“We smelled gas from about noon to 2 p.m. and it didn’t go away,” said Cheryl Waters of Charles Water Karate and Fitness. “They went into the store and had Hazmat officers look around.”
The Williston Park Fire Department responded to the initial complaint, joined by the Mineola Fire Department, the Nassau County Fire Marshal Hazardous Materials team and Nassau County Police.
Firefighters with the Hazardous Materials team and Nassau County Police Emergency Services Unit discovered more than 20 pounds of loose synthetic marijuana and 5,300 bags of synthetic marijuana, the Nassau County officials said.
Masked firefighters were seen entering Simply Foot Spa and placing a large fan in the basement before the area was roped off to onlookers.
“They told us to get out of the building and cancel classes for the day,” Waters said.
Nassau Police asked the Shahs to open the doors for investigation. Both Sunita and Rajeesh appeared.
Officers said they saw several cans of chemicals and drug paraphernalia when they opened the door.
Sunita and Rajesh Shah were arrested without incident, police said.
Traffic westbound on Hillside Avenue was down to one lane at 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday.
Kerry Collins, the Williston Park Building Inspector, has also posted a Vacate Order on the building until code violations observed are corrected to the satisfaction of the Fire and Building Codes, according to Mike Uttaro, the public information officer for the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article indicated that the Mineola Fire Department responded to the call. The Williston Park Fire Department was the lead department and Mineola Fire Department provided mutual aid.