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Man admits he damaged Watertown head shop that sold bath salts to his son

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A father who trashed a Watertown head shop with a baseball bat admitted to the act Friday in Jefferson County Court, but may escape any additional consequences.

Daniel H. Avery, 49, Chaumont, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree criminal mischief, admitting that on July 24 he damaged property at the since-closed Tebb’s Headshop, 144 Eastern Blvd. Police said at the time that he used a bat to shatter the store’s front-door window and broke a display case and glass countertop and some merchandise in the store.

Mr. Avery subsequently told the Times that he committed the acts because he was upset that his son, Justin, 24, was hospitalized the night before after using “bath salts” purchased at the store. Bath salts are a synthetic drug with narcotic effects similar to methamphetamine and cocaine. Mr. Avery said that when he went into the store, he asked the clerk whether the store sold bath salts or glass cleaner, and the clerk responded by presenting him a variety of products and instructions on how to use them.

The state has since banned the sale of the substances and the state attorney general’s office has gone after multiple businesses statewide, including Tebb’s, to ensure the drugs remain off retail shelves. State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky ruled in January that Tebb’s violated state Agriculture and Market Laws by selling the mislabeled products. The attorney general this week asked the judge to impose penalties in excess of $675,000 against Tebb’s owner, John E. Tebbetts III, Rome, who also faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Dec. 19 in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues and engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity. He also faces fines topping $5 million when he is sentenced April 29.

As for Mr. Avery, he was sentenced Friday to a one-year conditional discharge, meaning that if he stays out of legal trouble for the next year, that will be his sentence. He also was ordered to pay $639 in restitution to Tebb’s for the damage done.

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