Biloxi City Councilman Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

Candy Shop Owner Sold Mislabeled Vape Products Containing Illegal Substances

Robert Leon Deming III, a 47-year-old Biloxi City Council member, pleaded guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi announced the plea agreement, which stems from Deming’s sale of illegal substances disguised as CBD and vape products.

Multi-Million Dollar Scheme Exposed

Prosecutors allege Deming’s business, Candy Shop, LLC, operated stores in Mississippi and North Carolina, selling over $2 million in products containing controlled substances. These products, marketed as CBD or vape additives, reportedly caused health problems for some customers, raising red flags with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Investigation Uncovers Deception and Profit Motive

Following complaints and a 2020 investigation launched by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the DEA, authorities discovered Candy Shop’s illicit practices. Investigators found the vape additives contained synthetic cannabinoids, a dangerous alternative to CBD.

Seizures Reveal Extent of Operation

Law enforcement seized over $1.8 million in cash from Deming’s residence, along with additional cash and controlled substances from his stores. This significant haul suggests a large-scale operation aimed at profiting from the sale of illegal drugs.

Legal Consequences and Political Past

Deming was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2023. His attorney has not yet commented on the case. Deming, first elected to Biloxi City Council in 2013, has a history of courting controversy. Notably, he proposed a city ordinance requiring the display of Mississippi’s former Confederate flag in 2017. He also ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. House seat in the 2020 Republican primary.

Deming is scheduled for sentencing in August. As part of the plea agreement, he has forfeited a yellow Monster Truck, over $1.9 million, and will face the potential of significant prison time.