‘Cocaine-Filled’ Toy Scare Proves False

By EGP Staff Report

BELL GARDENS – Reports that a toy purchased out of a vending machine at a Bell Gardens restaurant was filled with cocaine turned out to be false, according to a Bell Gardens Police Department statement released Wednesday evening.

Police said they re-tested the white powder in the toy – a putty ball contained in a plastic container – purchased Monday from a gumball-type machine at Taqueria Los Altos at 6939 Eastern Ave., and “determined the original testing performed on the substance revealed a ‘false positive’ test for cocaine.”

The saga of the cocaine-laced toy began Monday when a concerned mother called police to tell them the vending machine toy bought by her son was suspicious.

“While her son was playing with the putty ball toy, it ruptured and a white powdery substance came out,” according to Bell Gardens police Detective Miguel Torres.

The white powder tested positive for cocaine and a total of 136 grams of the drug were removed and recovered, the detective said at the time. “Out of an abundance of caution and concern for community members, especially small children who may come in contact with these toys, we made a public notification via Facebook and Twitter” and reached out to media outlets as the department continued its investigation.

Restaurants typically lease space to outside vendors for the coin-operated machines that dispense candy or toys.

A company identified police as the vending machine owner, spent much of Wednesday denying any connection to the vending machine or the alleged cocaine. The woman answering the company’s phone complained she was being “unfairly targeted,” adding she’s been in business for 15 years and has done nothing wrong.

Police now say during their investigation they located and interviewed a vendor that provides toys for the machines. The white substance resembles talcum powder but has yet to be determined.

“… we are, however, confident that it is not cocaine nor does it pose a health risk,” police said Wednesday, adding “It’s always a good practice to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police department.

 

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June 8, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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