When people typically think of illegal drugs sold on the black market, they often think of powders in small baggies and secretive transactions between sketchy adults.
Brightly colored candy wrappers and children are not usually part of this equation, but one New Jersey drug ring decided to take a different route for their drug distribution.
New Jersey Drug Ring Sells Candy Drugs
Rather than the typical black-market drug sales, a drug ring in New Jersey has turned drugs into candy. In a large-scale operation, these drug dealers would buy large amounts of popular candies like Sour Patch Kids and Nerds Ropes and transform them into black market edibles. The process involved unwrapping the candies and spraying them with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, before rewrapping them into colorful packages. The operation included various flavors of THC and a finished product of laced candy that appears almost identical to ordinary candy.
Operation On The Ropes
In an investigation and drug bust deemed Operation On The Ropes, police found these candy drugs throughout the state of New Jersey as well as the warehouse in Manalapan Township that produced the drug-laced candy. The New Jersey drug bust led to the discovery of over 20,000 pieces of candy with unknown and likely inconsistent levels of THC. Along with the illegal THC edibles, police also found over 1,000 pounds of marijuana and over 6,000 flavored THC vape cartridges. In total, the street value of these products is an estimated $2 million or more. Over twenty people were arrested in the bust including the alleged drug ringleader, Dylon Addvensky.1
Drug Dealers Targeting Children
Not surprisingly, the candy infused with THC targeted younger consumers; the idea of candy drugs makes getting high even easier and more accessible to vulnerable youth. Once these young teens and adults became hooked on the candy drugs, they could also graduate to harder and more addictive drugs before the eventual necessity of formal addiction treatment to stop.
This is not the first time that teens and young adults have been targeted by drug dealers. For many drug dealers, this audience presents a vulnerable group of consumers who, once addicted, can become customers for life. E-cigarette companies were accused of targeting children because of their abundance of fun flavors. Other drug dealers have turned to social media sites in order to more easily distribute their supplies. Buying drugs on social media appears easier and safer for teens as well as using a platform that they are familiar with.
As a Pennsylvania residential rehab, we understand that as parents, this is concerning, especially when such a large-scale operation took place so close by. If you suspect that your young adult could be abusing drugs or alcohol, do not wait to get them help or for their problems to get worse. To learn more about our facilities as Clearbrook Treatment Centers as well as our programs, call us today at 570-536-9621.