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Discovery of THC-laced gummies raises concerns ahead of Halloween

Neptune Beach police believe bust should be warning for parents

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NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – They might look delicious, but police confiscated THC-laced gummy bears that could wind up in the hands of children.

On Nov. 14, a Neptune Beach officer arrested two men after police said they were caught with candies that contained marijuana.

Investigators said they are worried drugs disguised as treats could wind up in the hands of children, especially around Halloween.

According to an incident report obtained by News4Jax, 18-year-old Xavier Sanchez and 20-year-old Lando Foster, both of Jacksonville, were arrested after they were pulled over for speeding on Atlantic Boulevard near Penman Road.

According to Duval County court records, Sanchez faces possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and drug paraphernalia charges. Court records show Foster faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of over 20 grams of marijuana.

Booking photos of Xavier Sanchez and Lando Foster provided by the Neptune Beach Police Department

The report shows the officer found weed gummies in large bags and small bags, as well as regular marijuana, a bong and cash.

There’s no reason to believe the pot gummies were going to be given to any children. After all, they can be expensive on the street. But Cmdr. Michael Key, with the Neptune Beach Police Department, said it’s a reminder these illicit products are out there and could wind up in a child’s possession.

"God forbid a 6-year-old child ate however many of these," Key said. "It could potentially become a life-threatening emergency that they would need immediate medical attention."

Key showed the evidence to News4Jax. The gummies looked just like candy, but smelled like pot. Key said a lab test would determine the potency, which varies significantly. There was no immediate estimate of the street value.

While many people use THC for medical use, and it is legal with a proper medical marijuana card, detectives said they believe these specimens were not obtained legally. Officers said they believe the candies were separated for individual sale. 

"(Parents) need to be ever vigilant," Key said Tuesday, nine days before Halloween. "You need to see something like this and just recognize that is probably something that I need to pay extra attention to."

He said parents of trick-or-treaters should only get candy from trusted homes and inspect every package. If it isn’t sealed with a proper label, according to Key, parents should throw it out.

While spiking candy may seem far-fetched for most parents, father Noah Prior said he’s not taking any chances with his 3-year-old son.

"Anything that obviously can be tampered with, we are throwing that away," Prior said. "Nutty things happen."

Everette Sterling, 10, said his parents taught him to be cautious with candy before eating it.

"They go through it," he said.

If anything appears tampered with, they "throw it away," he added.

Key asked the public to report anything suspicious to police right away. He said many officers now have new roadside tests that pick up illegal drugs. They can also send the specimens to a state law enforcement lab.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.