Family accused of selling spice says they didn’t know it was illegal

Posted at 7:42 PM, Sep 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-06 19:42:58-04

Isle of Wight investigators say Walid and Dania Soliman sold illegal spice in their family's Carrollton Tobacco Shop, causing at least four overdoses.

So NewsChannel 3 went to talk with the Solimans at their home in Newport News after they were released from jail on bond, and their father, Mohamad Soliman, answered.

We asked him if his son and daughter were indeed selling spice from the store.

“I don’t know, I haven’t been there, I have been stuck here.”

Soliman is now under house arrest after he pleaded guilty to hiding money from the IRS to avoid paying taxes back in 2007.

He gave up control of the business after his conviction, but now, sheriff's deputies say they seized over $100,000 in cash from the home from his son Walid and daughter Dania. But they say the money is not connected to the sale of Spice.

“This is a tobacco store! That’s my brother’s life savings, he has worked for ten years, and he doesn’t take a salary,” said Dania Soliman, in her and her brother’s defense. “I saw you yesterday on TV talking about us, and we didn't do any of that, so please just go away.”

She tried to slam the door on us, but it was her father that stopped her, not done yet with his side of the story.

“Why, why, why would they go after her, she is in dentist school. Why, why are they after us?”

“There are like 11 stores selling that stuff in Newport News, and  you come and target us?  Leave all those other stores and target us because we are from the Middle East? We don’t want to comment, thank you, go back home.”

The Solimans say if they knew what they were selling was illegal, they would have taken it off the shelves. They blame Virginia's ever-changing spice laws for not knowing what to sell.

Two other employees of the store, Lisa Ruppert and Madgy Ashour, also are facing the same charges of distributing synthetic marijuana.