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Bismarck tobacco shop owner pleads not guilty to drug paraphernalia charges

BISMARCK—A Mandan man pleaded not guilty to drug paraphernalia charges in South Central District Court on Monday, June 11.

Ryan James Loeb, 23, owner of Tokes "R" Us in Bismarck, was arrested on April 20 after Bismarck Police officers raided his store.

His charges include two felony counts of unlawful manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia, schedule I, II or III. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Bismarck Police Sgt. Mike Bolme testified at Loeb's preliminary hearing on Monday that the police department had been receiving tips about Tokes "R" Us.

Bolme said a Bismarck Police detective went on the shop's Facebook page and found a photo of a large piece of a marijuana bud, along with photos of pipes for sale.

Police allege many of the items listed online, as well as displayed in the store, are specifically for marijuana, hashish and THC ingestion through smoke inhalation. Some items advertised at Loeb's store include "water pipes," which Bolme said are specifically listed as drug paraphernalia in North Dakota Century Code.

Bolme said the detective did three controlled buys from Loeb at the store in November, as well as twice on April 20, prior to Loeb's arrest.

A search warrant was executed at Loeb's store on April 20. Officers also searched a bus, owned by Loeb, parked adjacent to the shop that had "items in plain view," Bolme said. On the bus, officers found a digital scale, a pipe and a grinder with marijuana residue, as well as a glass jar containing a small amount of marijuana.

Loeb also has been charged with one count of unlawful manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia, schedule V or VI or marijuana, and one count of possession of a schedule II opiate.

Lloyd Suhr, Loeb's attorney, declined to comment on the pending case.

Loeb pleaded not guilty to all counts. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 3.

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