West Covina Unified school officials are on high alert after a local parent claims that their children were being offered by a drug dealer an “addictive” new drug similar to Ecstasy and “as potent as morphine”.
West Covina is home to four elementary schools. In a letter to parents at West Covina Elementary, a teacher said that drug dealers were openly offering drugs to students at the high school, an allegation that law enforcement officials confirmed to the Guardian.
According to investigators, the drugs offered to the students by the drug dealers were called “jelly” because it has a distinct flavor and that it is apparently so strong that a child could smoke it for hours without experiencing any symptoms.
“Kids started complaining about their arms and legs burning, and it sounded like it was more like morphine and trying to pick your teeth,” one of the district teachers told NBC Los Angeles.
“By the time they woke up the next morning they couldn’t sleep because they were so anxious,” another teacher said.
A West Covina Unified spokeswoman, Laura Olhasso, said that those allegations were the first she had heard of the new drugs.
The students’ parents told NBC Los Angeles that many of their children who had been offered the drug were fearful.
“I know they were really scared,” the mother of a student who had been offered the drug told NBC Los Angeles. “I think there was really a lot of fear on my son’s part.”
Officials in Huntington Beach responded by conducting two undercover buys at the school. One of the drugs the students were being offered was mislabeled as a prescription drug; officials confiscated that drug from the school’s driveway.
Drug agents with the DEA and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also conducted a “fly by” on the afternoon of 20 June at the elementary school. When the children answered their phones, officials were able to determine that they were connected to the drug dealers.
“They basically said: ‘We will bring Jell-O to your school. It’s acetaminophen, but it doesn’t come in bite-sized packets,’” a student who had attended the high school during the times when the dealers were selling the drug to students at the elementary school told NBC Los Angeles.
The spokesperson said that the district has been put on high alert and at-risk students are being given more frequent drug screenings.
“We are implementing a new school-wide ‘drug alert’ process,” Olhasso said in a statement. “We will soon be training all schools in the district on how to detect any suspicious behavior.”