A judge called Gary Elvers a “scourge” on the community Wednesday before sentencing the former head shop owner to a year of home detention.
Elvers, 58, was released from custody, where he’s served 33 days since his conviction for dealing the synthetic drugs commonly known as “spice” and “bath salts.”
It was his first conviction for any crime, despite being prosecuted on five previous occasions — three times in Howard County and twice in Cass County.
“It was not my intention to break the law,” Elvers told Howard Superior Court 1 Judge William Menges prior to sentencing. “I regret selling spice in the past, and I’d change it if I could.”
Elvers’ Kokomo store, Elvie’s, has been closed for nearly two years, since shortly after a Kokomo Police raid netted numerous packets of synthetic marijuana and bath salts, synthetic compounds which have an effect similar to cocaine or amphetamine.
The former shop owner, looking frail in his jail jump suit, maintained he was trying to comply with a new state law that went into effect in March 2012 by taking the substances off the shelves.
But prosecutors claimed the fact Elvers still had the substances on his premises was enough for a conviction and a jury agreed. Under Indiana law, possession of a banned substance over a certain limit is considered dealing.
Whether the jury would agree with prosecutors was uncertain going into Elvers’ three-day trial in February.
Last August, a jury acquitted Elvers of three felony counts stemming from a separate 2011 investigation in which officers claimed they’d made undercover drug buys at Elvers’ store.
That jury was unable to reach a verdict on two counts of maintaining a common nuisance, which are still pending and could go to trial next month unless prosecutors decide to drop them.
After his August acquittal, Elvers called his prosecution “a witch hunt” and asked when prosecutors would stop harassing him.