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Nipomo Mesa tobacco store owner arrested on alcohol, weapons charges

Ghanem Melhem El-Ayass, 52, was arrested Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, on suspicion of selling liquor to someone under 21 years old in addition to other violations, including the possession of illegal throwing-star weapons. Original story »
Ghanem Melhem El-Ayass, 52, was arrested Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, on suspicion of selling liquor to someone under 21 years old in addition to other violations, including the possession of illegal throwing-star weapons. Original story »

The owner of a Nipomo Mesa business was arrested Friday on suspicion of selling liquor to someone under 21 years old in addition to other violations, including the possession of illegal throwing-star weapons.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office deputies, working under a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, grant arrested 52-year-old Ghanem Melhem El-Ayass, owner of Mr. Smokes off of Highway 1 and Halcyon Road, after an undercover sting operation.

A 19-year-old man working with the Sheriff's Office bought an alcoholic beverage and a marijuana pipe from the business, which doesn’t have a liquor license, according to a news release.

Deputies then entered the store to issue a citation and discovered narcotics paraphernalia, including pipes used to smoke methamphetamine and illegal throwing star weapons and a collection of brass knuckles, according to the news release.

El-Ayass was in custody as of Tuesday afternoon at the San Luis Obispo County Jai, where he is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

NOTE: This story and its headline were corrected to reflect that the Mr. Smokes tobacco shop is on the Nipomo Mesa, not in Arroyo Grande, the time of his custody status, and that this information was obtained from a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office news release.

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