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Pot and pies available at St. Paul pizza joint leads to charges

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A pizzeria run by three generations of family is the subject of criminal charges for its use of an unusual topping – marijuana.

Police say that dozens of pounds of marijuana were discovered at Papa Dimitri's Classic Pizza and Ice Cream, at Hamline and Randolph avenues in St. Paul, as well as at the home of the owner's 82-year-old grandmother, according to the Pioneer Press.

The newspaper notes that officers became suspicious when they noticed that the restaurant sold fewer than a dozen pizzas a week, none of its staff ate there, and there didn't seem to be any heat.

The owner Ryan Dimitri Brooks Sr., 27, his mother Rosalyn Mary Brooks, 61, his grandmother Joyce Elaine Merkley, 82, and a woman he lived with, Lena Shalay Kirk, 24, were charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with multiple felonies, including conspiracy to sell marijuana, cocaine possession, illegal possession of a handgun by a felon, and engaging in business or concealing criminal proceeds.

The Star Tribune reports that the pizza parlor received $189,891.82 in cash deposits in its bank account between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2014, according to the charges, which also state that Brooks had allegedly admitted to using the pizzeria to launder drug money while he was incarcerated in 2008 and 2009.

The newspaper adds that police surveillance between Nov. 18-23 found that Rosalyn Brooks opened the parlor in the late afternoon, and that over six days it only had five customers and four deliveries.

Reviews of the pizzeria online are not positive. One on Yelp says: "I've defrosted better pizza on my engine block. A cracker thin crust with greasy cheese. Overpriced and slow as heck."

Another, by Greg, on GrubHub, said: "Delivery took an hour and 45 mins, the pizza was luke-warm when I received it. There wasn't any sauce on the pizza. Half way through eating it the crust turned to rubber."

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