Police detail arrest of West Orange clerk following sting operation, community complaints

Published 12:04 am Friday, December 15, 2023

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WEST ORANGE — A West Orange business was visited by law enforcement recently after complaints of selling nicotine products to minors and selling nitrous oxide without a permit.

A clerk was arrested, police said.

Officers with the West Orange Police Department, assisted by Orange County Precinct 2 Constable Jeremiah Gunter and Orange Police Department narcotics officers, conducted the operation at Vape “N” More at 3121 Edgar Brown Drive and confirmed the complaints were valid, according to information from West Orange Assistant Chief Jessie Romero.

Investigators identified numerous cases of nitrous oxide cartridges, as well as liter bottles of nitrous oxide.

Investigators believed the store was selling nitrous oxide and dispensers, knowing it would be used to be introduced into the human body.

The State of Texas lists nitrous oxide as an abusable volatile chemical and requires a permit issued by the State of Texas that must be posted, where it is plainly visible.

Police determined no such permit was located anywhere in the store, according to the news release.

Officers arrested the clerk in lieu of a citation at the business for the sale of tobacco to a minor and failure to post proper signage of abusable volatile chemicals. Romero said this is currently the only business of its kind in West Orange, so this was a first for the department.

In addition, the clerk had an out-of-state ID, which played into the decision to arrest the individual instead of a citation.

Arrested Nov. 21, Zuber Panjwani was charged for selling or giving tobacco to a minor (Class C) and failure to post a tobacco sign/health safety code violation (class C).

According to authorities, Panjwani bonded out three hours after his arrest.

Police identified him to Orange Newsmedia as a Port Arthur resident.

— written by Mary Meaux