New details unveiled in Operation Candy Crush

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New details about the Operation Candy Crush debacle in Rutherford County in February, where allegations were made businesses were selling CBD products that contained an illegal substance. 

Documents from a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed several narcotics detectives showed concern about moving forward with prosecuting business owners.   

The file consists of more than 300 pages, much of it redacted, meaning information was blacked out, including the store owner’s names and their business locations, even though authorities had already given it to the media the day of the raid. 

The file contains all the TBI forensic chemistry reports listing that the CBD gummies and oils contained an illegal drug.   

MORE: Judge officially drops all charges against Operation Candy Crush stores

The internal investigation stated a narcotic detective met with an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) after a lab report was received stating a package of Chill Gummies/SOUR FACES contained both Cannabidiol (Schedule VI) and 5-Fluoro ADB. 

“In addition, the lab wrote “5-Fluoro ADB is a methylindazolecarboxamidobutanoate compound and is defined as an illegal substance pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 39017-438(a)(1)(S)) and federal law.” 

After several meetings with the ADA, TBI, the narcotic detectives still expressed concerned about whether the CBD products were legal or illegal. 

“N.D. 1 mentioned to his supervision on multiple occasion his concerns in the prosecutorial direction of the CBD cases,” the investigative file states.  “It appears the District Attorney’s Office wanted the case to go before the October 2017 grand jury, and then a decision would be presented December 2017 grand jury.

The detective stated he, ‘slow walked the CBD case’ from going to the grand jury because he wanted more assurance the products were illegal. 

“Because of his delay, the District Attorney’s Office went up three tiers of supervision to speed up the investigation,” the report states.

The report states multiple narcotics detectives met with Major Bill Sharp and continue to express their concerns about the legality of the CBD products and offered different resolutions.

RELATED: Rutherford County store raided in Operation Candy Crush broken into while padlocked

The detectives suggested sending letters to the store owners to further test the products without any arrests, and they all agreed padlocking businesses was ‘extreme.’

“I was informed, unsatisfied with Major Sharp’s decision, the District Attorney’s Office reached out to the highest level of command at the sheriff’s office,” a detective stated.  “Two members of the District Attorney’s Office met with the sheriff and two chiefs.  The sheriff would not override the major’s decision, but instead allowed for the District Attorney’s Office to set up another meeting with Major Sharp and multiple detectives. 

An email about one of the lab reports dated December 1, clearly stated, “found the test to be inconclusive.” 

A  second exhibit did not list a scheduled drug, but despite that, all the business owners were indicted, arrested, and their businesses pad locked. 

An email from Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold said we are all taking a “beating” on social media and elsewhere over this operation.  

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office also submitted social media posts with people calling them pigs.   

One post stated, “Your community should hang and shoot all of you.”  

Another one stated, “Everyone at the sheriff’s department needs to hurry up and die.” 

The investigation also revealed $70,083.75 was taken from businesses and deposited into a drug fund, but all the money was returned, after the DA dropped all charges against the store owners.

To read the full RCSO Office of Professional Responsibility investigation report, click here.

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