Business raids surprise students

October 20, 2011

RaceWay, located at 1805 Louisiana Highway 33, is no longer open to customers despite its sign’s “Now Open” message. The store was raided earlier this month, along with four others, after a four-month long investigation. – Photo by Dacia Idom

Staff Reporter


Students were surprised to learn that five local businesses, were served search warrants served on Oct. 6.


RaceWay, 1805 Louisiana Highway 33, and Great Divide, 609 S. Monroe Street, along with Tech Mart, 801 W. California Ave.; Smoker’s Paradise, 804 W. California Ave.; and the Vienna Street U-Pak-It were raided and closed earlier this month following a four-month long investigation and charged with illegally selling items, including synthetic marijuana; bath salts, which have cocaine-like effects; and credit card fraud, according to the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office.


RaceWay has been a popular choice for students to get gasoline since its reopening.


Katie Payne, a freshman sociology major, has purchased gasoline there since she began driving three years ago.


“The pumps are easy to access,” Payne said. “It has the cheapest gas. I’ll probably start going to Walmart now.”


Even though Payne was surprised to hear RaceWay was raided, she said she was not shocked that it happened.


“It was only a matter of time,” Payne said. “It’s not a secret. I’ve known people who have bought ‘stuff’ from there.”


Rebecca Bertrand, a sophomore marketing major, said she felt the same way about Great Divide.


“I was recommended not to go there,” Bertrand said.


Bertrand said she prefers University Ink and believes it is the best tattoo parlor in town.


“They conduct business on a different level,” Bertrand said. “They do things the right way. They always keep the place clean, and they’re going to treat you right. I feel like I can trust them.”


Like most Ruston residents, Tech students were upset to find out they may have been the victims of credit card fraud.


Phillip Ransom, a senior chemical engineering major, said he has a low tolerance for companies engaging in illegal activity.


“If it’s illegal to sell, they shouldn’t be selling it,” Ransom said. “It doesn’t really make sense.”


Tanti Wonzo, a senior medical technology major, said she is against the selling of any type of illegal drug, including synthetic marijuana.


“I don’t like it,” Wonzo said. “Unless there is something medically wrong, I don’t approve of it.”


Ransom said it isn’t just the illegal selling of drugs that annoys him, but participating in any unethical practices is a turn off for him when considering local businesses.


“It discourages me from patronizing there in the future,” Ransom said. “I’ll be more cautious of where I do business”


Wonzo said she feels the same way and that she would like to see things done differently in the future.


“I feel like a lot of things need to change,” Wonzo said. “It’s not fair for those businesses trying to do the right thing.”


Email comments to jwf014@latech.edu.


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