Clergy calls for shutdown of store for paraphernalia

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Calls for a corner deli here to clean up its act after owners have been accused of selling more than just food and beverages. Clergy leaders said the store on Dixwell Avenue is supporting a drug culture because of some merchandise they sell.

That’s not all, the store owner tells News 8 by phone that his store was recently fined by the Connecticut Department of Labor for paying an employee in cash instead of documenting it by cutting a check.

“We will no longer tolerate individuals selling… cocaine bags, pipes, heroin bags within this community to our children,” said Rev. Boise Kimber, pastor of First Calvary Baptist in New Haven.

On a raw, rainy day outside Tuesday, members of New Haven’s clergy huddled together to bring heat to the owner of Dix’s Deli.

“Heroin bags sold out of this store. Cocaine bags sold out of this store,” said Pastor Donald Morris, with Christian Community Commission.

They’re upset because almost two weeks ago, the store manager of Dix Deli on Dixwell Avenue was issued a summons for selling drug paraphernalia, in particular, the little baggies that drug dealers commonly use to distribute their product. And that’s not all they’re accused of selling out of this corner store.

“They’re selling these little pipes called roses. (People) put a coil and put crack cocaine in it and you smoke it,” Morris said.

The store owner, Babu Khan, said over the phone that he’s being unfairly discriminated against. He said the bags are sold as jewelry bags and that everything he sells is legal. Clergy members, veterans of the battle against drug use in their Newhallville community, aren’t buying it.

“While we’re attempting to try and heal our own wounds, we got people coming into our community making it even harder for us to make things better,” said Pastor John Lewis, with Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. “We’ve got to stop that.”

“They can sell this to our community and it’s legal,” Kimber said. “We need to legislate that these things cannot be sold within in our communities.”

The clergy members said their next move is to lobby members of the New Haven Board of Alders to write legislation that would ban the sale of similar paraphernalia all over the city.

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