Illegal Black Market Vape Cart Operation May Link to THC Vape Deaths
Authorities are investigating whether a large-scale operation by two Paddock Lake brothers allegedly producing black-market THC vaping cartridges may well be connected to a spate of vaping-related respiratory organ diseases and deaths.
Tyler Huffhines, 20, and Jacob Huffhines, 23, were arrested on September 5 when warrants were served on the house where they live with their mother and grandad, 74th St. in pen Lake, and a rented condominium at Williamsburg Court within the Bristol Bay subdivision.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Kenosha County Sherrif Officer David Beth says at the pen Lake home investigators found $59,000 in money, eight guns with ammunition, 10.6 grams of marijuana and a small quantity of cocaine, along side scales and different equipment associated with drug sales.
The bulk of the operation was found at the Bristol condominium, that had been rented underneath an alias name.
In the sparsely furnished home, investigators found 100,000 pre-filled and empty vape cartridges, 3 money-counting machines, 18lbs of Cannabis and 57 mason jars, filled with 1,616 ounces of refined THC Vape Oil. The oil in every jar valued at just about $6,000.
The operation, allegedly launched by Tyler Huffhines in Jan 2018, had as many as 10 staff who were paid to put the oil into vape cartridges, that were then placed within imitation packaging with names like Sour Patch, before being distributed for sale…. article continues below.
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The operation came to light when parents of a teen within the town of Waukesha brought their teenage son to the Police Station to report that he was involved in the sale of THC Vape cartridges at a local High School.
“The Parents (of the Waukesha teen) were centered on holding their son responsible,” said Capt. Dan Baumann of the Waukesha local department. “These Parents were brave for what they did and should be commended.”
The investigation that meeting sparked eventually led to the Discovery of the Huffhineses operation.
Beth said additional arrests are likely. He said investigators are working alongside federal authorities to discover if the black market vaping cartridges may well be related to a spate of vaping-related respiratory diseases, as well as many deaths.
According to social media posts, 20 year old Tyler Huffhines is a real estate agent.
The Kenosha News published a story on the 20-year-old in 2018 with the headline “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” when he was an 18-year-old High School student with a business selling sports shoes online with “thousands of dollars in the bank, and thousands invested in the stock market, thanks to his hard work and uncanny ability to make a deal.”
The 23-year-old Jacob Huffhines was convicted in July 2018 in Racine County for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, and is being held on a probation violation. He was given probation in that case.
In 2017, he was charged with drug possession charge in Kenosha County which was pleaded down to misdemeanor marijuana possession.
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