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    Shell Takes Action Against Suspicious Stores

    Three jobber-operated units in Washington State to be debranded for selling drug paraphernalia.

    HOUSTON -- Working in cooperation with a local community group, Operation Lead On, Houston-based Shell Branded Wholesalers will remove the Shell brand from three service stations in Snohomish County, Wash. found selling drug paraphernalia. The stations, located in both Lynnwood and Everett, are targeted for debranding by December 15th.

    Shell Oil Co. does not own the stores or the property they are situated on nor were the units staffed by Shell employees. The units sold the unidentified paraphernalia without the company's knowledge or consent, which is conduct in violation of franchise agreements governing the use of the Shell brand.

    Upon becoming aware that drug paraphernalia was being sold at four locations, Shell took immediate action through its local distributors to stop the sale of such products. After six weeks of investigating the stores and trying to broker a deal to get managers to stop selling the merchandise, three of the locations chose not to comply. A fourth station did remove all products from their store and is being rigorously monitored to ensure they remain in compliance with Shell standards.

    Shell maintains a strict policy against the sale or display of drug paraphernalia. Currently all Shell stations in the Seattle market are being monitored to ensure such products are not distributed. B. P. Vander Mel, general manager for Shell Oil, said any other stores found selling drug related products would be dealt with in accordance of federal franchise statutes.

    "We want to thank the members of the community who brought this issue to our attention," Vander Mel said. "Although these are not Shell owned stations, we expect anyone who supplies our products to comply with all laws and to maintain a positive presence in the community. Shell has used all means available to remove the Shell brand from these facilities."

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