In February, Tempe Police were tipped off to shady behavior happening in the smoke shop's parking lot in the 1600 block of East Apache Boulevard. During the investigation, store owners Griffith Smith, 49, and 27-year-old Joshua Gault, of Peoria, knowingly bought stolen cigarettes from undercover officers.
Smith and Gault resold the cigarettes at the smoke shop for profit.
The two owners -- with the help of 20-year-old Arizona State University student Tyler Benenstuhl -- also sold weed and morphine pills to the undercover detectives, according to Tempe Police spokesman Sergent Steven Carbajal.
"We got a call saying there was drug activity going on in the parking lot," Carbajal tells New Times. "It was assigned from there to the undercover detectives. The owners bought those cigarettes knowing they were stolen. We're still sorting through the evidence, but the owners did sell marijuana to the undercover detectives and other patrons."
The two owners and Benenstuhl were arrested Tuesday. Additionally, weed and two handguns were found when police searched the smoke shop.
Smith was booked on 21 counts of trafficking stolen property, sale of marijuana, sale of narcotic drugs, misconduct involving weapons, conspiracy and money laundering, among other charges. Gault was hit with 25 similar charges.
Berenstuhl was charged with four felony counts of selling marijuana.