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Drug sweep yields weed, coke, toad

'Operation: Bad Candy" rounds up 36 for drug possession, distribution

By: Natalie Shelton

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 10:53 AM CST
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After a Northland drug sweep last week, a law enforcement agency has a toad in protective custody.

And "toad" is not a euphemism for "a really bad guy who deals drugs."

It's a little guy who is better known as the Sonoran Desert toad or Colorado River toad. He and his relatives have gained notoriety among certain circles because they secrete venom on their backs when they become angry or frightened, venom that contains a hallucinogen called bufotenine.

That hallucinogen, which is illegal, has had individuals go to elaborate lengths to partake in a little "toad smoking," said Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Dan White.

Some brave souls used to experiment with the extremely dangerous practice of "toad licking," but toad smoking is considered a better alternative because a person heats the frogs' venom, which breaks down the toxins and retains the hallucinogen, White said. The hallucinogen is then dried and smoked.

Local law enforcement authorities found the frog in the possession of David S. Theiss, 21, of Kansas City North and arrested him for possession of a controlled substance, White said.

Theiss was one of 61 Northland individuals recently targeted in "Operation: Bad Candy," the culmination of an almost two-year undercover operation of the Clay County Drug Task Force.

More than 50 officers — including those from the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and police departments in Liberty, Pleasant Valley, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Kearney and Smithville — met at 4:30 a.m. Oct. 31 at the Shoal Creek Patrol Division for a briefing and to receive arrest warrants.

The officers then teamed up and swept the Northland, knocking on doors in the early hours of the morning and surprising suspected drug dealers, Clay County Sheriff Paul Vescovo said.

By about 10 a.m. that day, they had taken 30 into custody, Vescovo said. As of Friday of last week, that number had increased to 36.

"Normally I'm not too keen on getting out of bed at 3 in the morning," he said on the day of the sting. "But I certainly liked doing it today. As a sheriff, you look forward to these types of events. It shows our public that we're serious about drugs and that all of our area law enforcement agencies are committed to working together for a common effort."

White said arrests were mainly for possession or delivery of marijuana, methamphetamine or cocaine.

He said he considered "Operation: Bad Candy" a success.

"When you're dealing with these cases, it's tough because a lot of them know each other," White said. "If you go to one person's house, it can be piecemeal to get the others in custody because it doesn't take long for the word to get out.

"But to get 30 in just a few hours, that's doing very well. Drugs have a presence in the Northland, but we're all doing our best to combat it."

Staff writer Natalie Shelton can be reached at 781-4941 or

Comments on "Drug sweep yields weed, coke, toad"

Comments are limited to 200 words or less.

911 truther wrote on Dec 8, 2007 2:11 AM:

" Lets see, they make weed illegal they make the DMT in our amphibious friend illegal, even though there is DMT in anyone reading this' brain RIGHT NOW, you are all in possesion of this "controlled substance" at every moment of every day. Is it just me or does something seem wrong about making NATURE illegal?? "

Ben wrote on Dec 1, 2007 12:20 AM:

" I agree with Bob. To arrest someone for being in posession of a pet is utterly rediculous. Who's to say that he had intent of harvesting the venom? "

Bob Build wrote on Nov 16, 2007 7:20 PM:

" That is the same mentality that led to the burning of witches. Some guy asleep at home with his toad and the cops bust him. That is so stupid. They should be pulling over drunk or drugged drivers, not arresting people at home in their sleep. One day the knock might come for you if you believe or do the wrong thing. "

LP wrote on Nov 8, 2007 10:14 AM:

" Interesting article "

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