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A US mother has been charged after her four-year-old daughter handed out packets of heroin to friends at daycare in Delaware, mistakenly thinking they were candy, police said on Tuesday. Ashley Tull, 30, was charged on Monday with maintaining a drug property and has lost custody of her two daughters and a son. Police and medics were called to the Hickory Tree Child Care Centre in Selbyville on Monday morning after staff saw children clutching small bags of white powder. The powdery substance, which was still enclosed in the bags, was confiscated by teachers and taken to the local police department where it was confirmed as heroin.

Police said the girl had unwittingly brought the heroin into school in a backpack given to her by her mother after hers was destroyed by a family pet overnight. The little girl thought the packets were candy and began passing them out to her classmates, police said. Several children who came in contact with the unopened bags were taken to hospital as a precaution but were released. In all 249 bags of heroin weighing 3.735g were found in the backpack, officers said. Tull was arrested, charged, arraigned and released after posting a $6 000 secure bond.

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