Criminal Investigation Launched after 40 People Fall Ill from Eating Bakery Bread Laced with Synthetic Drug

Patients reported symptoms that included hallucinations and out-of-body experiences after eating the bread

Police are investigating the source of drug contamination at Cholula’s Bakery

At least 40 patrons of Cholula’s Bakery in Santa Ana, Calif. have fallen ill after eating Three Kings bread that was laced with a synthetic drug, with symptoms ranging from nausea to hallucinations, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Multiple hospitals subsequently contacted Santa Ana police “after dozens of patient turned up sick,” with similar complaints, Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department told NBC Los Angeles.

"The only common denominator with all these patients is they ate this Three Kings bread in celebration of the holiday.” The cake, also known as rosca de reyes bread, is traditionally eaten on January 6 in celebration of Three Kings Day.

Preliminary testing has indicated the presence of a synthetic drug, but further details will not be known without final lab results, which are pending.


In addition to Cholula’s Bakery, the bread was also sold at several retail outlets. The bakery has been closed pending further investigations, and will remain closed until all ingredients used to make the bread are removed, restaurant-grade cleaning is completed, and all staff are given mandatory food training.