Published 9:20 PM EDT Sep 24, 2018
HAPEVILLE, Ga. — Drugs disguised as candy that a suburban Atlanta police department confiscated late last week after a hit-and-run accident should be a warning for all those who interact with kids — especially with about a month to go before Halloween — investigators said Monday.
Officers on Friday seized suspected cocaine and marijuana plus a cache of cannabis lollipops and pills in the shape of Hello Kitty, Homer Simpson and the Minions from Despicable Me that a kid might mistake for sweet and sour candy, Hapeville Police Department officials posted on Facebook.
"Our concern is these pills look like candy," department officials said Monday in response to a message from USA TODAY on Facebook. "Small children might ingest these items mistaking them for candy. Teens may see these drugs as less of a danger based on their looks."
Hapeville, a city of about 6,500 residents that sits northeast of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and has had about a dozen drug arrests in the past six months, according to incident reports posted on CrimeReports.
► May 17: Philly kindergarten teacher finds bag of crack cocaine in mouth of girl, 6
► Oct. 31: Meth found in trick-or-treat bag, so this whole town tossed their candy
► May 2017: Drug-laced 'SweeTARTs' seized; parents warned
Friday's seizure, which occurred after a suspect ran from the scene of car accident with injuries but left behind his computer bag, was not listed among incidents reported from March 28 to Monday. The department did not release the name of the suspect arrested but added a comment Monday to its post saying that charges so far included leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, possession of a stolen gun, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of cocaine and possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
Hapeville Police Chief Richard Glavosek did not return a phone call Monday from USA TODAY seeking additional information.
Though Hapeville police have not confirmed the types of drugs that officers confiscated, in the past similar multicolored pills were found to be MDMA, better known as ecstasy or molly. And while pot edibles are legal for recreational use in nine states and the District of Columbia and for medical use in another 30 states, Georgia is in neither of those categories, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association.
► April 2016: Weed-laced gummy candy leaves Florida kids in hospital
► May 2014: Marijuana 'edibles' pack a wallop
"What reason would a drug dealer have to offer drugs that appear to be candy except to entice young people?" the department said in its response Monday.
Last year close to Halloween, police in South Florida warned parents after Franklin County, Florida, deputies confiscated a mason jar filled with rock candy that tested positive in the field for bath salts, a type of drug that contains the stimulant cathinone and is not related to epsom salts used in bathing, reported WCTV-TV, Thomasville, Ga. Further tests at the Florida state drug lab in Tallahassee came back negative a month later.
Though giving away pot edibles, ecstasy or bath salts as Halloween treats would be an expensive proposition, Hapeville police said this incident is a good reminder for parents, teachers and coaches to warn children about the dangers of drugs before the season where kids are encouraged to take candy from strangers. An adult should check all Halloween candy before children are allowed to eat their sweets.
Contributing: Ashley May and Linda Dono, USA TODAY. Follow Christopher Buchanan on Twitter: @ChrispyBuc