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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Marijuana gumballs at Howard High attract DEA



The yellow gumballs from Howard High School which were stuffed with marijuana.




(Photos courtesy of the DEA)
The yellow gumballs from Howard High School which were stuffed with marijuana.


Howard County - At first glance, the yellow smiley face gumballs confiscated from Howard High School seem innocent enough.

But stuffed in the so-called “Greenades” was something that caught the attention of federal drug enforcement agents: marijuana.


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“It’s
a new idea and it’s new to the DEA,” said Gregory Lee, a retired
supervisory special agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency, who had never
heard of anyone packaging marijuana in such a way before. “When it
comes to drug-dealing, you’re only limited by your imagination.”

The
DEA recently released an intelligence bulletin about the gumballs,
which Howard County police say were confiscated from Ellicott City’s
Howard High in January.

“We’ve not seen anything like this
before,” said Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. “If
the DEA thinks it’s enough for an intelligence bulletin to come out,
then it’s important. This is the only case of this we’ve seen in Howard
County for sure.”



County police said they charged three 17-year-old
students at Howard High this year in the incident after a teacher
alerted a school resource officer.

On Jan. 11, the teacher told
the officer that she saw a student give a small plastic bag that she
believed contained drugs to another student. The police officer
contacted the student and seized the bag, which contained two small
“candy balls” wrapped in foil containing marijuana, police said.

Police
charged two students at the school with distribution of drugs on school
property and a third with possession of marijuana.

Howard
County police turned the gumballs over to Maryland State Police, whose
Forensic Sciences Division Laboratory in Pikesville determined each
gumball contained approximately one gram of marijuana.

The
instructions on the foil of the gumballs told users to chew for 30
minutes to one hour “before you would like receive your high” and to
“chew for as long as possible, then swallow.”

Maryland State Police said it was the first time they had encountered “Greenades,” according to the DEA intelligence report.

lbroadwater@baltimoreexaminer.com

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