Authorities in Northeast Alabama say a Monday traffic stop led to eight arrests and the discovery of a large amount of marijuana, marijuana products and marijuana edibles packaged as candy that children could easily mistake for the real thing.
Two of the eight people arrested were juveniles, according to DeKalb County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tyler Pruett.
The investigation began Monday when DeKalb County deputies encountered a vehicle stopped in the middle of County Road 1000 in Hammondville with four people inside "who appeared to be intoxicated with open containers of alcohol present," reads a statement by Pruett on the arrests. Two of the four were minors and all four were charged after officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found "a large amount of marijuana, marijuana edibles packaged as candy, marijuana wax and drug paraphernalia," he said.
The two adults in the vehicle, Daniel Segura, 19, and Homero Segura, 20, both of Valley Head, were taken into custody, Pruett said. Daniel Segura was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana first degree and possession of drug paraphernalia, while Homero Segura was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, officials said.
Those arrests led to a second operation later the same day in Fort Payne at a home in the 1900 block of Godfrey Avenue. DeKalb County narcotics officers and Fort Payne police executed a search warrant at the home and allegedly discovered more marijuana, marijuana wax and marijuana edibles packaged as candy, as well as drug paraphernalia and cash, Pruett said.
"The marijuana edibles were packaged and named similarly to popular children's candy, such as 'Sour Patch Kids' and 'Nerd's Ropes,' which can be easily mistaken for normal candy," Pruett said.
The operation in Fort Payne ended with the arrests of James Louis Race III, 48, William King, 31, Robert Junge, 55, and Jonathan Barrow, 42, all of Fort Payne, who each were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana first degree and possession of drug paraphernalia. James Louis Race III was additionally charged with resisting arrest, officials said.
DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden praised officers involved in the operation.
"This was an excellent job by our narcotics team and deputies yesterday," Welden said. "We pursue these cases anywhere in the county, especially when juveniles are involved."
Welden said the sheriff's office has "zero tolerance" for crimes involving juveniles.
"These cases must be dealt with swiftly," he said "Our narcotics team did an excellent job of gathering the necessary information and acting on it quickly."
Welden reminded residents to "be vigilant when it comes to candy that their children might have. In the fine print on the packaging, it says that it's a cannabis product, but at a glance it would be difficult to tell the difference," the sheriff said.
Contact Ben Benton at [email protected] or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.