Police Arrest 2 Men In Possible "Gummies" Drug Lab

Upper Arlington police have arrested two men for allegedly manufacturing the popular gum drop-type candies with Xanax.

According to the Upper Arlington Division of Police, officers and members of the Franklin County Drug Task Force responded to the 1800 block of Ridgecliff Road on Tuesday after residents said they smelled a strong chemical odor from a home in the area.

When officers arrived at the residence, they said they detected the chemical odor that is consistent with manufacturing illegal drugs and found the occupants of the home with drug manufacturing materials being processed in the kitchen.

After a search of the residence was conducted, police said, they seized drugs they presumed to be morphine and Xanax powder, lab equipment, and drug ledgers.

Detectives said the Xanax powder is diluted through a chemical process and then injected into candy gum drops.

These "Gummies" or "Gum Drops" are then sold person-to-person using the Internet.

The alleged morphine that was found was being made into heroin by reducing it into a liquid and mixed with other chemicals.

"It's obviously something that we don't experience here in UA very often. Obviously we are subject to all the same criminal activity as other cities," said Detective Keith Hall, with Upper Arlington police.

Officers arrested Trent Starr, 24, for one count of illegal manufacturing of drugs, and Charles Stewart, 21, for one count of possession of drug abuse instruments.

"I was surprised that it happened so close by," said neighbor Christina Balderaz.

Balderaz, a mother of three children, says Ridgecliff Road is a quiet street with many elderly who live in the neighborhood. While the drug infused candy raises a concern for her as a mother she says she still feels safe in her neighborhood.

"I have three kids in the house close by; but I think no matter where you live you have to watch your kids and know what they're doing," Balderaz said.

If anyone has information on this investigation they are asked to call the Upper Arlington Division of Police at 614-583-5160.

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