Marijuana-laced e-cigarettes spark alert in south Jersey

GLOUCESTER TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Authorities in Gloucester Township are sounding an alert after a large bust involving marijuana-laced electronic cigarettes.

The arrest came during a traffic stop in the township on May 21st.

An officer pulled over a Nissan Sentra and found 3,000 vaping cartridges that turned out to be laced with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Police say the e-cigarettes have a street value of $113,962.

24-year-old Mahdi El-Abed and two passengers were arrested and charged.

Now police are warning parents and school administrators to be aware of the potential danger.

Vaping is already popular among teens.

"The e-cigarettes are really easy to get, especially for kids. I see a lot of high schoolers smoking the Juul and everything like that," said Shaquille Griffin, of Lindenwold.

"I'm kind of shocked, because I have a 17-year-old and I found some e-cigarette in his pocket," said parent Al Sanchez.

But when vaping cartridges are laced with THC, they become a potent drug.

And due to the way e-cigarettes work, there may be little obvious evidence to parents or teachers that kids may be getting high.

"It's quite a discreet behavior," said Timber Creek High School Principal Kasha Giddins. "They can go in the bathroom, be in their rooms, and you would never know it's occurring. So educate yourself on what these things look

For concerned parents, the problem isn't only with the discreet look.

Police say the marijuana-laced cartridges recovered in last week's bust are flavored and don't produce a pungent smell.

"Honeydew Mango, Sour Diesel, Pineapple Express and Wedding Cake," said Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle, listing some of the flavors of the cartridges seized.

Police are also concerned about the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a delivery device for even harder narcotics such as cocaine and heroin.

They are urging parents in the area to talk to their kids.

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