Former Chesco student charged in pot-laced-candy case

Robert Callis- Keiser, whose apartment was searched in Oct.
Robert Callis- Keiser, whose apartment was searched in Oct.
Posted: January 11, 2014

WEST CHESTER During a search of a West Chester University apartment in October, officers uncovered hundreds of pieces of marijuana-laced hard candy wrapped in vacuum-sealed bags and stacked underneath a bed, in a duffel bag, and in a closet, according to a police affidavit released Thursday.

Robert Callis-Keiser, 25, of Johnstown, then a university student, was arrested Thursday and released on $25,000 bail, said the Chester County District Attorney's Office. Callis-Keiser, officials said, made the candy.

Charles Gaza, the district attorney's chief of staff, said Callis-Keiser's arrest was delayed by formal laboratory testing to confirm the candy was infused with marijuana. Faster tests typically used by the police didn't work in this case, he said, because the food dye in the candy interfered with the color-change indicator that would show the presence of drugs.

"This type of drug-laced candy is fairly common on the West Coast . . . but it is a new trend in this area," Gaza said in a statement. "Chester County law enforcement will be on the lookout for other dealers. Mixing drugs with candy presents a unique danger to children."

While the candy was seized shortly before Halloween, officials said that the timing was coincidental and that the treats were not meant for children. The student, officials said at the time, was selling the candy at concerts by giving out samples and then offering bags to interested buyers.

The police were led to the apartment, on South Campus off South New Street, after a university police officer approached a car stopped in an unlighted corner of a parking lot and detected smoke and the odor of marijuana, according to the police affidavit.

The officer asked the driver, Callis-Keiser, to get out of the car, found marijuana inside, and then asked to search his apartment, the affidavit said.

Under Callis-Keiser's bed, the officer allegedly found containers of hard candy wrapped in individual bags. When the officer stated aloud that it was candy laced with THC, Callis-Keiser allegedly paused before saying, "Yes, THC candy."

He then told the officer that there were 400 additional pieces in the closet, according to the affidavit. In all, 40 pounds of candy - in myriad colors and ranging from marble-size to orange-size - was seized, the police said.

Police also found a bottle of Everclear filled with liquid THC that Callis-Keiser used to make the candy, Gaza said.

Callis-Keiser, who is no longer enrolled at the school, is facing a string of drug charges, including possessing a controlled substance with an intent to distribute, officials said.

At the time of the seizure, university officials said it was the largest drug bust in recent memory.


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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