HAWK POINT, Mo. – Authorities in Lincoln County located hundreds of dollars of a synthetic cannabinoid or "fake weed" was found next to a playing baby in a trailer home in Hawk Point on Monday.
Deputies with the Lincoln County Sherriff's Office arrested and charged a trio in connection to the resale operation.
“It created so much attention on the street when it happened, it was like an episode of ‘COPS,’” said one man, who did not want be identified.
Narcotic investigators responded to the residence in the 100 block of Michelle Street after receiving several complaints of the sale of synthetic cannabinoids. That's where investigators located an unresponsive person in the passenger seat of a vehicle sitting on the driveway. The person was later identified as 50-year-old Arlo Martin.
While dealing with Martin, investigators said 34-year-old Frank Hedges walked out of the home toward the vehicle. They asked Hedges if there was anything illegal in the residence, to which he responded, “A little bit.” Hedges gave investigators consent to search the residence.
Investigators knocked on the front door and 29-year-old Tanya Bounds answered. Detectives said they could smell a chemical odor emitting from the front door while observing several plastic containers containing a green vegetable substance and drug paraphernalia lying about the living room.
Bounds said the bowls contained “fake weed,” which accounted for almost three pounds of synthetic cannabinoids. In addition, investigators seized a digital scale commonly used for street-level distribution.
Also in the residence was a 14-month-old girl who was found playing next to the synthetic cannabinoids. She was taken into protective custody.
“That is a horrible situation for a kid," said the anonymous neighbor, "because if I knew what was going on I would have went in there and try to put a stop on it.”
Investigators said the trio bought and sold $900 worth of the illegal drug from a gas station in St. Louis.
They said the three people were repackaging the fake weed in cellophane packages labeled “Cotton Balls” and Scooby Snax” which are consistent with sales and possession of synthetic cannabinoids.
In 2011, Fox 2 was the first news outlet in the country to report on the dangers of synthetic cocaine and fake weed before a law was passed banning such drugs.
Other neighbors said regardless of the law, synthetic cannabinoids continue to become more and more prevalent within their communities.
“We have complained for years about all the traffic that goes up and down our street here," said Brenda Strobl. "We’re just a small community, so if it’s in a small community like this then it’s probably in even smaller communities as well as larger ones like St. Louis and St. Charles.”
Martin, Hedges, and Bounds were all charged and are being held on bond.