Hancock County

Man possibly involved in selling weed vape pens to Hancock students arrested, deputies say

A man is behind bars after deputies say they found more than 200 THC vape cartridges, marijuana and other drugs in his home, according to a Hancock County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Deputies visited the home of Matthew John Ford, 35, on Rotten Bayou Road to serve an arrest warrant for misdemeanor domestic violence.

But when Ford opened the door, deputies say they smelled a “strong odor” identified as raw marijuana and other narcotics, according to the release.

Deputies then obtained a search warrant and found a marijuana-growing operation including live marijuana plants and several ounces of processed marijuana, over 200 THC vape cartridges, multiple quantities of blotter and liquid LSD, and items for processing, consumption, and distribution, the release states.

“Narcotics agents had recently been investigating information and tips regarding the source of fruit-flavored THC vaping devices and other marijuana products being supplied to students at Hancock High School,” the press release said.

Bill Covington, commander of the narcotics division, later clarified that the evidence found was consistent with anonymous tips received about high school students, but that there is no evidence of drug use on school grounds.

The vape cartridges each contained more than 90% of pure THC, according to the release.

Ford is charged with trafficking of a controlled substance and two counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He has multiple prior felony charges for controlled substance crimes.

“I am very happy we were able to take this large amount of drugs out of circulation in Hancock County,” Sheriff Ricky Adam said in the press release. “If it was the source of what’s been winding up in the hands of our high school kids, then that makes it one of our most important drug cases in quite some time.”

“Parents are encouraged to be on the lookout for vaping devices, and not to assume they are OK,” the press release said. “Many of these products, which are nearly pure THC, have smells like fruit or candy and do not have any odor typical of marijuana being smoked.”

Britneé Davis is McClatchy’s South Region Digital Producer. The south region includes the Sun Herald, the Telegraph, and the Ledger-Enquirer.