ATLANTA - The mastermind behind a company that marketed pot-infused snacks to minors pled guilty to related charges in Fulton County.
The felony drug charges stem from what investigators found in a Fairburn home during their probe of the company called Trill Treats.
The FOX 5 I-Team first met Addea Simmons last fall when he sold us $100 dollars’ worth of what a lab later said was a box of marijuana-laced brownies. Simmons actually told our undercover producer he had people in high schools selling his product for him.
But how many? And what should Simmons' punishment be?
In a hearing to decide Simmons' fate, Assistant Fulton County district attorney Rewa Collier presented evidence seized from the defendant's house, ledgers from his bedroom detailing who he had working in his organization. Bakers, sellers, managers, accountants. He also had a long list of local high schools and colleges where he sold his marijuana-laced snacks.
Last fall, three Fulton County mothers told the FOX 5 I-Team Simmons secretly delivered a batch of Trill Treats to a Sweet 16 birthday party held at a Cobb County hotel. One of the girls became so sick after eating the drug-laced snacks that she had to be hospitalized. The whole experience left parents horrified.
"My reaction was I cannot believe that somebody has gotten sick like this and can possibily die on my watch," remembered one still bothered months later.
The state repeatedly stressed Simmons' target audience to the judge.
"So many children's lives are affected by this illegal activity, by the defendant," complained ADA Collier.
Simmons' plea comes in the face of some compelling evidence against him. He ran an Instagram page where he openly advertised marijuana-laced snacks that Simmons said he made himself. Douglasville police testified they made a pair of undercover buys from Simmons.
If the business wasn't drugs, some people might be impressed by Simmons' entrepreneurial spirit. Investigators testified they found pie charts showing which sellers performed the best. Grocery lists. Formulas detailing how many treats he should be able to make out of a certain amount of marijuana. And a map of metro Atlanta showing the best delivery routes. According to authorities, Simmons was clearing $5000 each month from his company.
Fulton County police seized baking materials throughout Simmons' home, containers they testified were coated with marijuana found in the kitchen, garage and dining room. The Fulton County District Attorney's office tells FOX 5 it has not decided whether anyone else in the home will face charges.
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Simmons to 20 years, 10 to serve in prison. His attorney argued that he deserves only probation. Tawanna Morgan pointed out that Simmons has never been in legal trouble before. No disciplinary action in high school. He's just like the school club he once joined: a future business leader of America.
"He's not just out here unconcerned with the effects of his actions, out here trying to be some kind of street thug if you will," Morgan stressed. "Instead, he's actually following a path that society is indicating to be the next booming industry."
Judge Melynee Leftridge decided not to sentence Simmons Wednesday. She will sleep on it and announce her decision tomorrow. Regardless, Simmons still faces felony charges in Douglas County where he's charged with delivering pot-laced snacks to undercover officers. Twice.