According to a federal grand jury indictment, 47-year-old John Bruce Fifield, Jr. of Sedalia, Colorado has been selling meth-laced marijuana to middle school kids. Fifield, on the other hand, says he’s innocent. Today, he’s under house arrest, out of jail on a $25,000 bond. When he goes to trial to make his case, he’ll face aggressive federal charges. Because the charges involve minors, federal prosecutors are pursuing maximum sentencing.
Police Say They’ve Never Encountered Meth-Laced Weed Before
John Bruce Fifield, Jr. stands accused of distributing marijuana laced with methamphetamine to middle school students at Woodland Park Middle School in Colorado Springs. Fifield lives in Sedalia, Colorado, a town of barely 200 people, and his step-daughter attends Woodland Park. The town is about an hour’s drive from the school. According to court documents, Fifield’s step-daughter would bring classmates over to Fifield’s house after school, where the man would give the children meth-laced weed.
Once kids started getting sick from smoking the meth-laced weed, the school’s resident police officer took notice. One of the students who said he obtained marijuana from Fifield took an at-home drug test. That test came up positive for methamphetamine. A police sweep of Woodland Park on Nov. 15 turned up a handful of students with drug paraphernalia they say Fifield provided. As students began to come forward, admitting that Fifield was supplying them with the weed, police launched their investigation.
It was the first investigation of Teller County’s new Narcotics Squad, a multi-agency group tasked with drug crimes. And for the officers experienced in narcotics enforcement, it was also their first encounter with a methamphetamine-cannabis polydrug. “This is the first time that we’re seeing that combination in our county and it’s giving us lots of concern,” said the Teller County Sheriff’s Office.
After obtaining a search warrant the Teller County Narcotics Squad searched Fifield’s home. They found more than five pounds of cannabis and several illicit substances, including Xanax, psilocybin mushrooms and methamphetamine. According to court documents, Teller County sheriffs found 18 grams of marijuana laced with meth. After seizing the drugs, the narcotics team made their first arrest, taking Fifield into custody.
Laced Weed Renews Fears Over Legal Cannabis’ Risks to Children
The process of creating “polydrug” combinations by mixing different substances together is called lacing. In other words, a “laced” drug is one that’s been blended in some fashion with another narcotic. But sometimes, drugs are laced with substances that are dangerous or even deadly. Those risks increase when the person consuming the drug has no idea it contains another substance, as is often the case. And with unregulated cannabis, lacing is more common. Regulated products, like those for sale in Colorado dispensaries, undergo lab tests to screen for dangerous chemicals and other additives.
Nevertheless, incidents involving marijuana laced with methamphetamine are incredibly rare. Criminal defense attorney Christian Samuelson said his research turned up just two cases involving the combination, a 2016 incident in North Dakota and one in Canada in 2006. The rarity of such dangerous polydrug combinations, however, isn’t helping to diminish parents and teachers concerns about young children’s access to marijuana.
But despite a nationwide wave of legalization across the U.S. in recent years, young people aren’t using more cannabis. Among U.S. eighth-graders, as many reported using cannabis in the last 30 days in 2017 as they did in 2007. That amount is six percent of eighth-graders, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.