A young boy and his mother were enjoying a meal at Taqueria Los Altos in Bell Gardens, California, when the boy asked for 25 cents to buy a toy.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the mom happily gave him a quarter to keep him occupied. He walked over to the toy machines, purchased a putty-ball, and started squeezing it.Bell Gardens Police Department
The toy immediately fell apart. Bell Gardens Police Detective Miguel Torres told CBS News:
“While her son was playing with the putty-ball toy, it ruptured and a white powdery substance came out.”
While vending machine toys aren’t normally known for durability, Torres said the mom immediately thought the toy and the white substance looked suspicious. She called the police.
Officers from the Bell Gardens Police Department arrived at Taqueria Los Altos to investigate and brought a drug test along. The white powder tested positive for cocaine.
Public Safety – Press Release https://t.co/A6IyWuiTtY
— Bell Gardens Police (@BellGardens_PD) June 7, 2017
The putty-ball toy had come from a machine inside the restaurant called “Grandes Juguetes (Big Toys).”
An additional 136 grams of cocaine were recovered from inside the toy machine. The officers told CBS this was a substantial amount of illegal drugs.
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) June 7, 2017
A spokesperson for the restaurant, Alfredo Sanchez, told CBS that the toy machines are not associated with Taqueria Los Altos:
“We contracted with this company for the past couple years, but no way are we affiliated with this company. We only lease the location to the company.”
The L.A. Times reached out to the company listed on the side of the vending machine, Snack Time Vending. A woman reportedly answered the phone. She said the other two machines were owned by the company but not the one with the cocaine.
Police officers are concerned that there could be more machines filled with drugs within the community. Officers warned local businesses in a press release to check their machines to ensure drugs weren’t hidden inside.
It isn’t clear how the drugs ended up in the location. For now, the machine has been removed from the restaurant.
As police officers continue to investigate, parents are encouraged to keep an eye on vending machine toys.