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Parent playing with kids in Merriam park finds marijuana, loaded gun and more left behind

MERRIAM, Kan. -- Merriam police say a parent playing with their children in Campbell Park found a quart-sized mason jar of marijuana and reported it to investigators.

Whoever left the drugs behind also left a loaded gun, a phone and a scale. It happened on Memorial Day, according to investigators.

"I called it the marijuana dealer's starter kit," Merriam Police Capt. Troy Duvanel said. "'Cause you've got everything. You've got your scale here for weighing out the product, cell phone for communicating with your clients, obviously your product, and your protection."

Police say the gun was a loaded 9-millimeter Beretta, caked with dirt. The parent found it all while looking for their child's lost ball.

"It could have ended badly if a kid or someone had found it," Duvanel said.

He said, judging by the all dirt on the loaded gun, it could have been in the park for weeks. He warns the public if you find a gun, don't touch it.

"Just call the police and let us deal with it because you don't know the condition of it," he said.

The findings worry Sandy Paida, who lives next to Campbell Park. She had a picnic there with her 9-year-old granddaughter Tuesday.

"That's very scary," Paida said. "I don't let the kids come down here by themselves. I'm always with them, but still, they're down here and they're walking around. Anybody could have found it."

Paida finds the whole situation with the abandoned starter pack strange.

"My concern is why was it left here. If somebody pulled up and scared them and they just threw it and ran? Which way did they run?" Paida said.

Those are all questions Merriam police don't have the answers to yet.

"If somebody had to leave it for an emergency, if somebody consumed too much of their own product and forgot where they placed it, it's difficult to say," Duvanel said.

Merriam police said once they send everything to forensics for prints and DNA testing, there's a good chance they'll find who it belonged to. They haven't turned the phone on yet, but when they find the person who left behind the drugs, scale phone and gun here, they'll likely be arrested for possession with intent to distribute.