By EMMA BARTLETT
Business partners and brothers Miam and Muhammed Saleem came before the safety services and licenses committee Monday night after being issued six violations from the Cranston …
By EMMA BARTLETT
Business partners and brothers Miam and Muhammed Saleem came before the safety services and licenses committee Monday night after being issued six violations from the Cranston Police Department for selling tobacco products to minors. While the business has a municipal court date for June 17, the committee members unanimously voted (5-0) to suspend all five licenses at Quality Fuel and Speedy Mart for 20 days with a 90 day abeyance period. The business will continue to operate as usual, however, if another violation occurs during the next 90 days, the suspension will go into effect.
At Quality Fuel, there are three licenses under Miam’s name, including extended hours, tobacco license and victualing license. At Speedy Mart, he holds an extended hours license and victualing license.
Sargent Lori Sweeney told the council Monday that in December 2021, Cranston’s Special Victims Unit was tasked with completing compliance checks throughout the city. For a compliance check, officers visit various stores and send in a juvenile decoy to make sure the establishment is following the law and not selling to minors.
Sweeney said the department started with the Miam and Muhammed’s store Quality Fuel on Cranston Street because they received tips that the store was selling tobacco products to individuals under 21. Around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2021, police conducted a compliance check where the decoy came back with tobacco products; there were ultimately three violations at this location. In each situation, the decoy was never asked his age or for an ID.
At 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2022, Sweeney and state reps entered Quality Fuel in to give a citation. When they went in, Sweeney said they found flavored electronic Juuls in the store which are illegal to sell. She said the representative who was with them said there was about $30,000 to $40,000 worth of products the owner shouldn't have been selling.
Miam and Muhammed’s second location is Speedy Mart on Warwick Avenue and their first violation here occurred Feb. 10, 2021, and a second on May 12, 2022. Since May 12, there have been no further compliance checks on the establishments.
Miam told the safety services and licenses committee Monday that once the business was notified of the violations, the two employees who were selling to underage kids were fired. Muhammed said the stores are now strict with IDs, have a new ID scanning system and cameras.
The business owners have stores in Warwick, Coventry and Providence – as well as locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Muhammed said there is the occasional violation which they receive, but have never had the issue of so many violations at once.
The employers said the managers train employees on tobacco sales and they are the ones who train the managers. The two said they did sell flavored vapes when it was allowed but no longer do.
Additionally, the owners said their Cranston Street has a bad reputation and people are do not like to work there. They said the location has had three break-ins and two robberies in the last year – one instance where $40,000 worth of merchandise was stolen. Miam said when he has worked at the store, and underage kids came in for tobacco products he would turn them away. However, since there were a lot of homeless people in the area, he said minors would send someone in from the streets to purchase the products for them.
The owners have a June 17 municipal court date, for several of the citations given by the Cranston Police Department. The business will continue to operate as usual, however, if another violation occurs during the next 90 days, the suspension will go into effect.
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