Jan. 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM ET
Any university student who has ever purchased a used textbook knows that there are sometimes strange surprises hiding between those pages. Usually they come in the form of messy scribbles or perhaps even a forgotten piece of gum, but in one student's case the unexpected (and unwanted) gift-with-a-textbook-purchase was a bag of cocaine.
WPTV reports that Sophia Stockton — a junior at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas — recently ordered a textbook from an independent retailer through the Amazon online storefront. The book was intended for a spring course on terrorism and is called "Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues."
When Stockton flipped through the textbook, she "discovered a bag of white powder had fallen to the ground." According to WPTV, Stockton feared that the bag contained anthrax and took it to the local police department the next day:
"I told them white powder was in my terrorism textbook and so I put it on the table and they’re like, 'oh, okay,' And so he went back and tested it,” Stockton recalls. “ He comes back and says, ‘you didn’t happen to order some cocaine with your textbook, did you?’ And I was like, no!”
Gardner law enforcement officials speculate that there may have been up to $400 worth of cocaine in the bag.
According to GardnerEdge, a Kansas area news site, the Gardner Police Department will destroy the cocaine at a later date, but the officials have not reported the incident to Amazon or any other agency.
We reached out to Amazon for more information about how such an incident could have occurred. While Stockton's textbook was purchased through the online retailer, it comes from Warehouse Deals. This Amazon storefront offers "deep discounts on open-box, like-new, refurbished, or used products that are in good condition but do not meet Amazon.com's rigorous standards as 'new.'"
According to the Warehouse Deals' page on Amazon, all items are inspected prior to being offered for sale:
Prior to offering an item for sale on Warehouse Deals, we verify its physical and functional condition.
Items purchased through independent sellers on the Amazon website are covered by the company's "A-to-z Guarantee," so Stockton could theoretically file a claim on the grounds that the item she purchased was "not the item depicted in the seller's description." (We sincerely doubt that cocaine was mentioned in the product description, after all.)
At this time it remains a mystery how $400 worth of cocaine wound up in a used textbook.
But if anyone else finds a bag containing a questionable white powder in a mail-order, I would strongly suggest that he or she should not wait an entire day to alert authorities. After all, if the bag in Stockton's textbook did contain anthrax — as she initially feared — immediate and appropriate medical evaluation and treatment would've been essential. (For more information about anthrax, you can consult the World Health Organization website.)
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