Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Upper Merion Township Police Chief Thomas Nolan, and East Norriton Township Interim Public Safety Director Philip Pulaski announced on June 15th the arrest of 20-year-old Quashon Rice of Philadelphia, on felony drug trafficking charges related to manufacturing and selling homemade THC-laced cereal snacks, then delivering them directly to middle schools, high schools, parks, and purchasers’ homes. According to the announcement, Rice’s products were delivered within the communities of Ambler, Bala Cynwyd, Bridgeport, Cheltenham, King of Prussia, Norristown, and Willow Grove.
The investigation into Rice began on May 10th when a police resource officer responded to the East Norriton Middle School cafeteria where school officials believed a middle school student had been provided an edible marijuana snack without his knowledge and was now sick. The sick student reported that he had eaten a rainbow-colored Rice Krispy treat given to him by another student. The investigation determined that this student was selling drug-laced edibles that had been purchased via the Instagram account “top2treats.”
Rice delivered the purchased edibles to the student at home, at a local park, and within the neighborhood. The student paid for them in cash. Through a search warrant and other investigative means, detectives determined that Rice was the owner of the “top2treats” Instagram account. Detectives also found evidence that Rice had communicated with the student and multiple other juveniles quoting specific prices, delivery fees, and a variety of edible THC products available including Fruity Pebbles bars, cookies, brownies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch bars, and other types of edibles.
Once Instagram disabled the “top2treats” account, the investigation found that Rice continued his illegal sales activities on a new account, “toptreatz4.” A review of the content from March 2022 to May 2022 for both accounts received from Instagram, detectives learned that the user of the Instagram accounts facilitated the sale of drugs to children at locations including public middle schools, high schools, public parks, an Urban Air trampoline park and his juvenile customers’ homes. Further evidence showed the defendant knew he was selling drugs to children as young as 11 or 12 years old.
In addition, the investigation recovered messages that revealed that Rice solicited some of the juveniles to help him sell the drug-laced edibles. In exchange for a discount, he also asked buyers to repost and tag his Instagram sales posts that advertised the various types of THC bars and prices.
An arrest warrant was served on Rice in Philadelphia on June 14th. During his Rice’s arrest, law enforcement recovered a “ghost gun,” materials the defendant used to make the THC-laced edibles, approximately 40 individually packaged homemade edibles and approximately 10 bags of individually packaged bags of marijuana in counterfeit commercial packaging.
“This defendant was targeting children as young as 11 years old to sell his drugs to, imbedding drugs in cereals and snack products that appeal to children. He then sold them where children are—on social media, specifically Instagram, where he would show the product as well as provide step-by-step instructions for how the kids could order the edibles and have them delivered,” said District Attorney Steele. “This defendant’s illegal drug trafficking business supplying drugs to children and encouraging children to be drug dealers is an egregious case. We will be seeking a long state prison sentence so that he will be in a place where he won’t be able to harm any more children.”
Rice is charged for the 19 sales and deliveries within Montgomery County, 18 of which were to juveniles. He is charged with Solicitation of Minors to Traffic Drugs, Possession With Intent to Deliver, Criminal Use of a Communications Facility, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Corruption of Minors.
He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Marc Alfarano, who set bail at $95,000 cash. Rice was unable to post bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A review of the bail was completed on June 15th by Court of Common Pleas Judge Henry Hilles III, who kept bail set at $95,000 cash. A preliminary hearing is set for June 27th before Judge Alfarano. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lindsey Mills, captain of the narcotics unit.
Photo: Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office