ATLANTA — Police said they found drug-laced candy, cookies and chips that mimic snack foods popular with children in a recent drug bust.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke exclusively with investigators, who found packages with labels that look like familiar snack items called things like “Doweedohs,” “Trips Ahoy” and “Canna Butter.”
Investigators said the packaging is enticing to young children, who wouldn’t be able to tell the difference until they eat the snacks, and then it would be too late.
Capt. Anthony Jackson with Atlanta police said the products are laced with THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high.
“As a child, you may think you’re eating a Nutter Butter or a bag of chips, not knowing it’s THC-infused,” Jackson said.
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On Friday, Jackson gave Seiden an exclusive look at the evidence: More than $50,000 in marijuana edibles.
Jackson said the bust was the result of a four-month investigation that began after concerned residents called Crime Stoppers, reporting a lot of traffic outside a home on Lynford Drive in southwest Atlanta.
“One of our biggest tools in fighting crime is the community,” Jackson said. “They give a lot of great information when they call into Crime Stoppers.”
Atlanta police arrested three men who are each suspected of selling the drugs to undercover officers. Two of the suspects, Jarvis Winder and Fanchon Rowser, are convicted felons and accused of being in possession of a gun.
All three suspects are facing several charges including possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
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“This was a location where they were actually selling for themselves,” Jackson said. “And I’m quite sure those items were purchased from a larger vendor and they just repackaged.”
Jackson said he and his unit are starting to see more and more of this packaging and the drugs are likely coming from states like California and Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal.
He’s now urging parents to stay vigilant, especially as summer vacation approaches.
“Kids bodies are very fragile. They’re going to react very differently than a full-grown adult, so that’s the danger we are doing to face,” Jackson said.
Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the director of Georgia Poison Control, said calls to his center for children who ingested marijuana edibles nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020.
“Obviously, the phenomenon of look-alike is especially prominent in young children,” Jackson said.
He attributes the spike in incidents to the pandemic.
“With many of these cases that we looked at occurred during school time hours. And guess where the kids were? They were at home,” Lopez said.
As more and more states legalize recreational marijuana, Lopez said it’s important that parents keep a close eye on their children and pay attention to labels.
“Remember, it’s not that marijuana kills. What happens is if they start having these symptoms, like lethargy, and dizziness, it’s the after-effects, meaning if they stumble, fall, and now have head trauma, that’s the problem that we’re going to run into with some of these kids who start ingesting these products,” Lopez said.