Bryan Cohen Sep. 12, 2013, 5:32pm

SHADYSIDE, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter announced an order Thursday to close a Shadyside business for allegedly selling synthetic drugs.

Earlier this year, DeWine filed a nuisance abatement action against Stacey Heathcote, the owner of Shadyside Party Center, for allegedly selling synthetic narcotics at the store. In a ruling issued last week, Shadyside Party Center was declared a public nuisance and forced to close from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2014.

Heathcote was also indicted on two counts of trafficking in drugs and one count of drug possession. Because the drug possession charge includes a major drug offender specification, Heathcote could face at least 11 years in prison, if convicted.

"This case shows how serious state and local authorities are about stopping the sale of synthetic drugs," DeWine said. "Not only must this defendant close her store for a year, but she is now looking at the possibility of being sentenced to leave her family and friends and go to prison."

If Heathcote is found guilty of the criminal charges filed against her, she could be required to forfeit her business and all related real estate.

DeWine also filed a civil lawsuit against Heathcote. The pending lawsuit alleges Heathcote engaged in deceptive, unfair and unconscionable acts by selling illegal drugs as a legal product.

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