ROXBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Police in Roxboro have a message for parents after a recent investigation involving four convenience stores.
The police department said during their 'Operation Sweet Tooth' campaign, detectives confiscated counterfeit candy that contained THC from the stores.
Roxboro police said 126 of the items confiscated were edible THC. They confiscated more than 140 items that violated copyright laws and counterfeit marks laws but Chief of Police David Hess said the stores face no charges citing they were unaware.
The stores where the items were seized include Madison Smoke & Vape, Roxboro Tobacco & Vape, M&A1 and Fuel Time Convenience, Roxboro police said.
"I think what we learn from this investigation is criminals will go to any lengths to try and duplicate common goods that consumers use," Hess said. "And targeting our children is very dangerous. Try to avoid commercial products and go into places that you're not familiar with where the candies may come from."
The stores were the items were seized include Madison Smoke & Vape, Roxboro Tobacco & Vape, M&A1 and Fuel Time Convenience, Roxboro police said.
Roxboro police made this statement about the investigation, "This investigation led by Lt. Williams was a proactive approach to get these items out of stores in order to keep them out of hands of children who may have believed that they were candy."
Earlier this month, federal investigators warned states about 'rainbow fentanyl' that was sweeping across the country.
"This investigation in the seizure did not reveal any rainbow fentanyl," Hess said. "However, it is a major concern for us."
Senior scientist Nabarun Dasgupta at UNC explained how unlikely it is for drugs to end up in trick or treat bags.
"Drugs cost money," Dasgupta said. "You're not seeing people throw $50 and $100 bills in trick or treat bags. Most kids of trick-or-treating age don't have the kind of cash flow that would make them attractive customers. There are risks that parents should be addressing, like ensuring there are reflective elements in costumes to avoid cars on dark streets. Not eating unwrapped candy is good practice in general. And brushing teeth before bed. These are the real ways to keep kids safe."
A new wave of concern has spread across the United States over multi-colored "rainbow fentanyl" pills, powders and blocks -- that look similar to candy or sidewalk chalk -- being sold and used in several states, and potentially posing a threat to young people. But parents of young children should not overly panic, and the emergence of this new product is one small part of the larger ongoing opioid crisis, DOJ said.
Rainbow fentanyl comes in bright colors and can be used in the form of pills or powder that contain illicit fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, making them extremely addictive and potentially deadly if someone overdoses while trying to achieve a high off of the drugs.
"With the rise and concern of counterfeit candies, fentanyl, and THC laced candies this year brings an unprecedented level of safety concern for all of our communities," Chief Hess said.