LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A licensed professional counselor who deals with substance abuse is speaking out about her arrest in an alleged THC gummies ring. Juanda Carroll Morgan, of Lufkin, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.
“I don’t think there could be anything more ironic,” Morgan said. “The fact is I have not taken part in any kind of drug dealing, manufacture, distribution of anything in my life legal or illegal including this.”
Morgan is one of four people charged in the case — including her daughter, Meghan Lynn Sutton, of College Park. The others arrested are Catherine Richey, of Lufkin, and Chance Daniel Richey, also of Lufkin.
Sutton is charged with five counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Catherine and Chance Richey are each charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The charges stem from allegations they were making and trafficking THC edibles. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
“I was considered that if my daughter lived with me, I must be part of it,” Morgan said. “So communications between my daughter and other people were assumed to mean that I was, and that’s just faulty. It’s distorted. It’s inaccurate. It’s misleading."
Morgan says she knows Catherine and Chance Richey and that they are “solid” and “responsible” people.
“For me this is heartbreaking to watch solid, generous, responsible people potentially facing wrecked lives, increased suffering; but I know that’s not left up to me and the criminal justice system will be looking at this and deciding what to do regarding these charges,” she said.
According to the probable cause affidavit KTRE obtained Tuesday, police began investigating Sutton on Oct. 17. A detective obtained a search warrant for Sutton’s Facebook account and conducted several controlled deliveries of THC from her.
The detective “located during the examination of the paperwork provided from the Facebook search warrant, that Sutton was direct messaging ‘friends’ on Facebook about her THC Gummy trafficking business, soliciting customers and generally talking about the amount of money she was making and where she was obtaining the THC to cook the edibles."
Morgan says she does not promote any mood-altering substances, but she says her views have evolved on topics such as medical marijuana.
“We are actually, in my opinion, going through some very serious growing pains as a culture regarding the right to choose between alternatives to prescription medicines — some of which may be less effective, highly addictive and sometimes lethal,” Morgan said.
Morgan says her arrest is a serious matter and she values her career as a professional counselor. Still, she says the situation has been a point of humor for some of her clients.
“I’m taking a lot of razzing from my clients that are in alcoholics anonymous,” Morgan said. "It’s been quite a source of joking, but quite frankly I’ve just received an incredible amount of support and I’m grateful for it.”