Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)


Officials warn about CBD gummies laced with fentanyl

- By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@pottsmerc.com

Calling it a “public safety nightmare,” Montgomery County’s top law enforcemen­t officer warned residents that fentanyl and heroin have been found in some brands of so-called “CBD gummies” sold at three stores in the county.

“We are looking at a public health issue. We don’t know the magnitude of it. This is a very dangerous situation. It’s a fluid situation right now,” county District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said during a Friday news conference, adding the investigat­ion is ongoing.

“We need to get the word out that some of these packages contain deadly drugs, fentanyl and heroin. Hopefully, we can save lives,” Steele said. “This is a public safety nightmare for all of us.”

Authoritie­s said they were alerted to the fentanyl-laced products after two people overdosed after ingesting CBD gummies and required emergency medical measures to save their lives. The victims were shocked to learn they had ingested fentanyl, officials said.

The fentanyl was found in bags of the Strictly Delta brand of “Delta 8 THC 600 MG Happy Cubes” and sold at three Tobacco Hut stores in the county, according to officials. Two flavors, “Juicy Pineapple” and “Blueberry Lemonade” were found to contain illegal drugs. “Juicy Pineapple” tested positive for fentanyl and the “Blueberry Lemonade” tested positive for heroin, fentanyl and methyl fentanyl, authoritie­s said.

Packages of “Urb Extrax” and “Packwoods Coned,” other items offered for sale at the stores, also contained fentanyl, authoritie­s said.

The Tobacco Hut stores are located at the following locations: 728 Bethlehem Pike in Montgomery­ville; 1080 Bethlehem Pike in Hatfield; and 1740 DeKalb Pike in Whitpain, according to court documents.

“We want to make sure that everyone out there who may have been in one of these three Tobacco Hut stores in Montgomery County and bought this product, please, please do not take it. Do not eat them. Do not allow anyone else to eat them. Please keep them away from children. They contain fentanyl. You could die. That’s the very clear message I want to get out at this point,” Steele said.

On Thursday evening, law enforcemen­t officers executed search warrants at all Tobacco Hut stores in the county and all packages of Strictly Delta brand of “Delta 8 THC 600 MG Happy Cubes” were seized and testing found the presence of fentanyl, officials said.

“We were alerted to this by overdoses. We served search warrants on three stores after making undercover buys in those stores. We went in. We had a lot of manpower,” said Steele, adding all boxes of the questionab­le products were seized and are being tested.

Steele said anyone who purchased the Strictly Delta brand products anywhere in the county should not consume them and

should call the Montgomery County Detective Bureau at 610-278-3368 or their local police department and turn them over for testing.

“Thankfully, we have not had a death attributed to this,” Steele said.

No arrests have been made and the investigat­ion is continuing.

Steele was joined at the news conference by Whitpain Township Police Chief Kenneth Lawson, Montgomery Township Police Chief Scott Bendig and Hatfield Township Police Chief William Tierney.

According to court documents, on Jan. 27, Whitpain police responded to a Blue Bell location and found a man who reported suffering a medical emergency after he consumed CBD gummies that he purchased from the Tobacco Hut store on DeKalb Pike in Whitpain.

On Feb. 17, Whitpain police received informatio­n from a confidenti­al source who claimed a friend purchased gummies from the same Tobacco Hut that they believed contained THC but who suffered a medical emergency that required hospital treatment after consuming them, according to court papers. Blood tests conducted by the hospital returned a positive result for fentanyl.

“The friend of the confidenti­al source reported to the confidenti­al source that they have never knowingly consumed fentanyl before and the ‘gummy’ was the only explanatio­n to the fentanyl being present in their system,” county detectives wrote in an affidavit of probable cause attached to a search and seizure warrant.

Informatio­n about both incidents was forwarded to county detectives who immediatel­y launched an investigat­ion. Undercover detectives went to the Whitpain Tobacco Hut on Feb. 17 and purchased three “THC Gummy” products from the store, including the Strictly Delta brand.

Subsequent tests on the products purchased by detectives showed positive results for fentanyl, heroin and methyl fentanyl, according to court documents.

In court documents, detectives said a check of the Instagram page for the Strictly Delta brand showed that the brand identifies as a “federally licensed company, operated business committed to producing the finest quality hemp-derived products.”

Detectives said other informatio­n determined that Tobacco Hut is a chain of stores with multiple locations based out of Virginia and detectives identified the other store locations in Hatfield and Montgomery­ville.

“Right now this is local, this is state and this is federal. This is something we are working through,” Steele said.

As of Friday, authoritie­s said the investigat­ion hadn’t determined if the incidents related to the products were linked to the manufactur­ing process or alteration­s after packaging.

“As far as we know at this point, this is the packaging that was sold to the stores or came from the stores. I really can’t go too far other than that in the investigat­ion, but those are things that we of course have to look into,” Steele said. “We are in the early stages of this.”

Steele said authoritie­s could not have tested the items so rapidly without the analytical support and Ionscan technology provided by a team from the PA Counterdru­g Joint Task Force of the Pennsylvan­ia National Guard.

 ?? CARL HESSLER JR. — MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele displays a package of CBD gummies found to contain fentanyl.
CARL HESSLER JR. — MEDIANEWS GROUP Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele displays a package of CBD gummies found to contain fentanyl.

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