Mother says store owner sold son bath salts from trunk of car

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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ACWORTH, Ga. - A mother is speaking out about drug sales allegedly conducted by a store manager.

The manager of a chain of adult novelty stores, Serena Burkard, was arrested Wednesday at her  Woodstock store and accused of selling a synthetic methamphetamine known as "bath salts" to an undercover officer.

An Acworth-area mother who wants to be called Ellen said Burkard sold her son bath salts out of her car in the parking lot on several occasions.

She said he was addicted for nearly a year.

"He became somebody we didn't know," Ellen said. "(He had) horrible hallucinations, paranoia."

Ellen said she got her wish when the authorities moved in.

Channel 2 Action News was there when federal agents swarmed four Smoke 911 stores in metro Atlanta and seized truckloads of evidence as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected illegal drug sales and money laundering.

"She's selling bath salts out of the back of her car," said Ellen. "I was thrilled because they were busted, because somebody listened."

"We got a search warrant for the store and vehicle. In addition to some bath salts in the car, we found about $10,000 in cash that she said was related to the businesses, but it was in all sorts of locations," said Phil Price, director of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Drug Squad.

Business owners near the Woodstock Smoke 911 said they were glad authorities took action, so was Ellen.

"I don't want them to open again," she said. "They were open a week after the federal agents raided."

They were also open when Willis checked the Acworth store Sunday night.

He asked an employee point blank if they were still selling bath salts.

"We've had a ton of calls from people with it, and I've been told to say no to everybody," said an unidentified employee. "We're not doing any sort of thing like that anymore."

Ellen said her son has cleaned up and is no longer using bath salts.

She is pleased with the progress, but said she has every right to be skeptical, and concerned for anyone who patronizes the stores.

"We've gotten through this, but there's a lot of people who haven't, and a lot of people who won't,” Ellen said.