Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin have arrested two brothers and charged them with running an illegal business of packaging and selling THC-filled vaping cartridges. The cartridges were packaged to look like candy and had names like “Chronic sour patch,” and other fruity flavors.
The brothers are now being investigated to see if they are linked to any of the recent vaping-related illnesses that have happened across the country. So far seven people have died from vaping-related illnesses and there have been 380 cases of illnesses related to e-cigarettes.
Possibly One of the Largest Operations in the Country
Tyler Huffhines, 20, is accused of being the ringleader behind what authorities say is one of the largest illegal THC vape cartridge operations in the country. He told law enforcement that he never smokes THC, but he saw a demand for the THC-filled cartridges and decided to make money off of them. He originally bought pre-filled cartridges from California and sold them at a marked-up price in Wisconsin, but then discovered he could make even more money if he bought empty cartridges and paid people to fill them with liquid THC.
Tyler's brother, Jacob, has been charged with possession of cocaine, THC, and a firearm, but as the investigation continues, more charges are expected to be filed against both brothers and others involved.
When law enforcement raided the condo of the drug operation, they found over 31,000 THC-filled cartridges and 98,000 unfilled cartridges, as well as mason jars filled with liquid THC, money-counting machines, and 18 pounds of marijuana. Tyler told authorities he started the business in January 2018. When he began using employees to fill the cartridges, he originally paid them $20 an hour for their work, but then decided he would make more if he paid them 30 cents a cartridge because they would work harder to fill more cartridges.
Not only had Tyler documented his business by posting pictures on Instagram, but law enforcement have also found videos on his Snapchat account showing boxes filled with the THC-filled cartridges and large piles of money. Tyler told detectives that he invested all the money he made from the business back into the business, saying, “No risk, no reward.” The entire operation was sophisticated enough that employees had time cards.
Wisconsin versus Washington Laws on Marijuana
Unlike Washington, where it is legal to possess and sell marijuana in controlled amounts, Wisconsin only has a limited medicinal marijuana statute. Marijuana in Washington is regulated by the state's Liquor Control Board. The Huffhines brothers in Wisconsin are initially facing charges of possession with intent to distribute, running a place of drug trafficking, identity theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, and felony possession of a firearm.
As investigators dig deeper into the business, more charges will likely be filed--including charges against the employees of the operation.
Drug Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
If you or someone you know has been caught up in an illegal drug operation, you might be facing serious charges of drug offenses. Just because you've been charged, though, doesn't mean you will be convicted. Steve Karimi has many years defending against allegations that involve possession or intent to distribute. Contact his office today for a consultation at 206-621-8777.