Authorities reportedly seized nearly 130,000 cartridges that were either empty or contained THC oil from the family-run operation.
A Wisconsin mother has been accused of helping her young adult sons run a massive counterfeit vape operation.
Courtney Huffhines, 43, was arrested last Monday (Sept. 30) and has been charged with maintaining a drug-trafficking place, possession with intent to deliver and misappropriation of personal identifying materials.
Authorities believe that Huffhines was involved in the counterfeit operation by providing a place to run the business and even helping package the THC cartridges at her real estate office, according to Rolling Stone.
Jacob and Tyler Huffhines, 23 and 20 respectively, were arrested on September 5. Tyler, “the alleged ringleader,” was charged with maintaining a drug house, identity theft and intent to manufacture and distribute THC over 10,000 grams. Jacob was charged with possession of cocaine, THC and a firearm.
Police Seize THC Oil Estimated to be Worth Over $1.5 Million
Upon a raid of the family’s home in Paddock Lake and a condominium in nearby Bristol, authorities seized nearly 130,000 cartridges that were either empty or contained THC oil estimated to be worth over $1.5 million.
The brothers’ operation produced close to 3,000 cartridges a day. They had employed at least 10 people who were paid $20 per hour to fill the cartridges with THC oil that would sell for around $35 to $40 each.
Police Cracking Down in Response to Recent Vaping Related Illnesses
The U.S. is currently experiencing an alarming emergence of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths.
At the time of Jacob and Tyler’s arrest in early September, officials had estimated there were about 400 possible cases of lung injuries and six deaths related to vaping in the U.S. As of October 4, those numbers have shot up to more than 1,000 possible cases and at least 18 deaths, according to the CDC.
Investigators are honing in on the cause of this outbreak, but an exact cause is yet to be determined.
Tyler Huffhines’ lawyer argued in his initial court appearance in September that there was no evidence to suggest that the brothers’ operation was connected to the vaping-related illnesses.
Authorities in Minnesota raided another counterfeit vape operation in late September, arresting one individual in the process. They seized nearly 77,000 vape cartridges containing THC and $23,000 in counterfeit cash from the operation located in Coon Rapids, a suburb of Minneapolis. The cartridges were worth nearly $4 million, according to NBC News.
So far Minnesota has reported one vaping-related death. There have been no such deaths reported from Wisconsin.