Lawsuit claims "Operation Candy Crush" store owners targeted because of nationality

Posted at 10:13 PM, Dec 29, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was a bust dubbed Operation Candy Crush -- meant to crack down on stores selling candy investigators said was made from marijuana.

But charges against several store owners were eventually dropped after investigators couldn't prove the products actually contained marijuana derivatives.

Now, those store owners are fighting back, saying in an addition to an ongoing lawsuit they were targeted because of their nationality.

"12 of the 17 store owners in this matter are of Egyptian descent," the lawsuit claims.

Also according to the lawsuit, the Assistant DA Prosecuting the case told an attorney for a CBD candy company "all the people selling CBD in Rutherford County are foreigners.'"

The products at the stores in Rutherford County raided in February were found to be CBD products, which are legal in Tennessee and Nationwide.

Nashville Attorney and former Judge Nick Leonardo says allegations of that kind of targeting raise the stakes of the lawsuit.

"When you amend a complaint like this, you include this provision of the possibility of attorneys fees, it raises the stakes on the lawsuit and it may very well create an incentive for the defendants to settle," Leonardo said.

But attorneys for the Assistant District Attorney, Rutherford County Sheriff and other officials being sued argue those officials have immunity from lawsuits -- Immunity that they say comes as a part of their official job carrying out the laws of Tennessee.