Fort Worth

Gas Pipe head shop owners face charges of conspiring to sell synthetic marijuana

Owner Gerald “Jerry” Shults stands in front of the Ridglea Theater in 2012.
Owner Gerald “Jerry” Shults stands in front of the Ridglea Theater in 2012.

A father and daughter who own the Gas Pipe head shop chain face federal charges of conspiring to sell synthetic marijuana, their attorney said Thursday.

Gerald “Jerry” Shults and his daughter, Amy Lynn Herrig, surrendered to officials at the U.S. marshal’s office Wednesday in advance of a pending indictment against them, said their attorney, George R. Milner III of Dallas.

Federal officials in Dallas said Thursday that they had no information to release on the case.

“This is not the first legal hurdle for the Gas Pipe,” said Milner. “And, the Gas Pipe is fully prepared to fight these allegations and fully demonstrate it has done nothing illegal.”

Last summer, the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth — a Camp Bowie Boulevard landmark owned by Shults and listed on the National Register of Historic Places —was one of a slew of North Texas properties seized in a federal crackdown on a Dallas-based synthetic marijuana operation.

Shults and Herrig were not charged or arrested then.

Milner acknowledged Thursday that Gas Pipe has catered to an alternative clientele that has drawn law enforcement scrutiny through the years.

“Gas Pipe has always withstood such scrutiny,” Milner said in a Thursday email. “The Gas Pipe and its employees have bent over backwards to fully comply with the letter of the law. The Gas Pipe would not otherwise have remained in business.”

Milner noted that Gas Pipe locations remained open Thursday.

“Each time the government suggested that Gas Pipe product contained an illegal substance, Gas Pipe immediately discontinued sales of that product,” Milner said. “There is a very strong disagreement as to whether any of these products are illegal.”

In addition to property seized last summer, federal officials confiscated $2.8 million in cash and investment funds.

In a complaint filed in federal court last summer, prosecutors say employees of Shults’ Gas Pipe on Maple Avenue in Dallas were manufacturing substances known as K2 and Spice in a room at the business in early 2014 after people working for the original maker, Lawrence Shahwan of Lewisville, were arrested on unrelated charges.

The case was first reported by WFAA/Channel 8.

The complaint said several residential and commercial properties were seized because, prosecutors allege, they were either bought with drug money or used to sell synthetic marijuana under such brand names as Venom, Alien Loose Leaf, WTF, Wolf Pack Rage and Assassin Revenge

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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