00:20 GMT06 July 2020
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    Two brothers in Wisconsin, Tyler Huffhines, 20, and Jacob Huffhines, 23, have been charged with operating a large-scale counterfeit ring that manufactured thousands of THC vaping cartridges a day.

    Both brothers face numerous charges including possession of THC with the intent to deliver, maintaining a drug trafficking place, identity theft, possession of a firearm by a felon and cocaine possession.

    Huffhines admitted launching the multimillion-dollar scheme in January 2018 after seeing a potential moneymaker in THC vape cartridges sold in California for $2.50 a piece, which he could then flip in Wisconsin for $15 each, prosecutors said. According to the Kenosha News, Huffhines even posted photos of himself on Snapchat while flying in first class to California on August 28. A confidential informant was able to provide information that the mason jars indeed made their way back to Wisconsin and they were being used to manufacture “between 4,000 and 5,000 cartridges per day," the complaint says.

    "Jacob Huffhines did go to California with his brother Tyler Huffhines with $300,000 in order to purchase the THC distillate that was found at the condominium," said the prosecutor.

    The total street value of the seized THC cartridges exceeded $1.5 million. Investigators also recovered 98,000 unfilled cartridges, as well as $59,000 in cash, 57 jars filled with refined liquid THC and more than 18 pounds of marijuana, the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department announced last week, marking what authorities have called one of the largest counterfeit rings in the country.

    "There are tens or hundreds of thousands of cartridges that have been shipped out and potentially hurt or even killed people in the past," Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said. "So this is a grave concern for us here in Kenosha, and also the entire nation."

    When questioned by investigators, Tyler Huffhines "stated he never smoked THC and got into the business solely to make money. He stated he saw a demand for THC vape cartridges so he started purchasing THC vape cartridges from California," according to the prosecutors.

    Tyler Huffhines was charged Monday with maintaining a drug trafficking house, identity theft and possession of THC with intent to deliver over 10,000 grams. He is being held on $500,000 bond, jail records show. His brother, who is facing gun and drug charges, remained held without bond Tuesday. He was on probation at the time of his arrest for dealing cocaine and told police he travelled to California with his brother to buy THC oil.

    An attorney for Tyler Huffhines, meanwhile, said Monday during his initial court appearance that there’s no evidence connecting two brothers to the vaping-related illnesses across the country that have killed at least six people and sickened more than 300 nationwide, adding that there have been no deaths related to these illnesses in Wisconsin.


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