Carolina Beach pair allegedly sold chocolate-mushroom bars
A pair living in a Carolina Beach condo allegedly ordered fungal spores off the Internet to create and sell chocolate mushroom bars in the largest hallucinogenic mushroom operation town police have ever seen.
Jeremiah Roussard, 25, and Mary Richardson, 27, both of 101 Sea Oats Lane, Apt. 25, were arrested Saturday night after a month-long investigation by the Carolina Beach Police Department.
Both were charged with trafficking psilocybin mushrooms; possession of immediate precursors; manufacturing and possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I drug; sell and delivery of a schedule I drug; sell and delivery and possession with intent to sell and deliver a schedule VI drug; possession of drug paraphernalia; and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of a controlled substance, police said Monday.
Police confiscated popcorn kernels, glass jars, plastic buckets, hay and eggs, among other materials, from the couple's residence. Officers said all the materials were used in a detailed and organized process to manufacture the hallucinogenic mushrooms. The popcorn kernels and eggs, for example, were used for nutrients and placed in jars that were injected with the fungal spores. The end products were spheres of fungi-covered hay with mushrooms stemming out of them.
Officers said the spheres weighed a total of 62.9 pounds, and they also confiscated 21 jars of developing liquid spores, 183 grams of mushrooms, a pound of marijuana, several products used for smoking marijuana and $2,600 in cash.
Carolina Beach Police Chief William Younginer said the couple would pick the mushrooms and coat them in chocolate. They would then sell the chocolate bars for about $25 each, he said.
Undercover officers working for the police department, who could not reveal their names, said they approached the suspects Saturday after investigating since February. The suspects invited the officers into their residence and sold them marijuana and mushrooms, and officers later returned with search warrants.
Younginer said officers spent about 12 hours searching the couple's condo and working on the case. He said it was the largest home-grown mushroom manufacturing operation he had ever seen in the county.
Last month, New Hanover County sheriff's deputies seized 13 pounds of mushrooms that had been dried and packaged for distribution, which was the largest seizure of that drug the sheriff said he could recall.
Younginer said he was proud of the department's officers for stopping an operation that potentially would have grown and reached more hands, including tourists coming to the area.
“In the past we've had three or four deaths every year from visitors that come in and they overdose on different drugs they take while they're down here,” he said.
“What we're trying to do is get this stuff out of here and make it harder, less attractive for drug dealers to come down here to the beach,” Younginer said.
Roussard and Richardson had first appearances in court Monday. Both are being held in the New Han over County jail in lieu of $300,000 bonds each.
By Shannan Bowen
Published: Monday, March 8, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 8, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
there is a new footage video clip imbedded in the above linked story
there are 20 photos related to the story
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