Two adults and a juvenile were arrested this week in connection with “a narcotics investigation into the ongoing and illegal sales of controlled substances out of a Hoboken storefront” — and the city has now ordered Hoboken Exotic to close.
Specifically, police said, “unregulated marijuana” was being sold.
“This came in response to multiple community complaints alleging that the store was selling cannabis illegally without local and state licenses,” said Hoboken Public Safety Spokesperson Marci Rubin. “The investigation involved a series of undercover purchases set up and conducted by members of the department’s Street Crimes Unit.”
Police said the Hoboken Police Department Street Crimes Unit began the investigation last month, and led to the seizure of “unregulated marijuana” and the arrest of 33-year-old Brahim Brahim of Jersey City, police said.
Brahim, an employee of the store, was charged with multiple counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, including the sale within 500 feet of public property (a park), and 1,000 feet of school property, police said. He was released on his own recognizance pending a court date, police said.
Police also arrested Esa Alsaedi, 32, of Kew Gardens, N.Y., who was identified as the store’s owner. Alsaedi was charged with employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme, which is a second-degree crime, police said. He turned himself into the Hoboken Police Department, was processed, was brought to the Hudson County Correctional Facility, and was released pending a court date, police said.
“The juvenile was processed for the role played in the illegal distribution of marijuana andreleased,” police said.
As of March 30, 2023, according to a city spokesperson, “The city’s zoning officer notified the business that its Final Certificate of Zoning Compliance and Certificate of Occupancy have been revoked. As such, it has been instructed to close immediately.” The next day, there was an Order to Vacate on the door.
The following summonses have been issued:
– Operating a cannabis business without a license issued by the State of New Jersey.
– Operating a cannabis business without obtaining zoning compliance and certificate of occupancy for that use.
– Failure to collect and remit taxes to the City of Hoboken on the sale of cannabis products
“The sale and use of unregulated cannabis and illicit drugs has been prevalent across the state,” said Police Chief Steven Aguiar. “Thank you to the community for coming forth to report the illegal sale of cannabis and to the hard-working men and women of the police department for their thorough investigation.”
Several medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries have gone through the licensing and approval process in Hoboken, but have not yet opened.