• 59°

Suffolk man accused of lacing candy arraigned

COURTLAND

The Suffolk man accused of providing drug-laced candy that made eight Southampton high schoolers ill on Tuesday was arraigned on Thursday in the county’s general district court.

Jaden Devon Phillips

Jaden Devon Phillips, 18, of Elmore Circle, had been arrested in the early evening of Tuesday after several sources reportedly identified him as the person who provided the candy to the students. Southampton County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to take him into custody and brought to the county jail. Sheriff Jack Stutts said the charges are felony possession with intent to distribute, felony distribution to someone under 18 and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He added that more charges are possible.

Court documents report that a female student, identified only as B.S., sold packets of Gummi candies for a couple of dollars each to the other classmates, who thought the candy was infused with marijuana. B.S., in turn, later identified Phillips as her source.

As previously reported, whatever was in the candy apparently caused those students to become sick enough to require being sent to Southampton Memorial Hospital. Seven were later released that afternoon, and the eighth taken to another facility for observation. That person was also later released.

Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon, school superintendent, stated in response for an update “As a school division, we care deeply for all of our students, their safety and well-being. Southampton County Public Schools will continue to work collaboratively with the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office as this incident continues to be investigated. Our focus now is on the accountability of those responsible, appropriate disciplinary actions being taken, and the steps moving forward to ensure incidents such as this do not recur.

“We appreciate the support and understanding of our parents and the cooperation of our staff and students as we dealt with this incident.”

Phillips is scheduled for a bond hearing on Tuesday.