BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on illegal vape products, starting with a large drug bust.
Captain Rick Bucheit says the bust began when they got word that narcotics were coming into Hamilton and Oxford in packages that were shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.
Investigators, Bucheit said Monday, intercepted the deliveries with search warrants during the week of October 4th.
“We’re definitely seeing an influx in vape cartridges coming into the county," he said.
In all, they seized items that are worth about $65,000 on the streets, according to Bucheit.
Among what they seized: nearly 1,000 THC vape cartridges, seven pounds of marijuana, and THC products, like lip balm, Tootsie rolls, cannabis syrup and gummies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, describes THC as a “psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.”
“We kind of take a beating on social media that it’s just THC, it’s just marijuana, but clearly in the big picture across the country, people are getting really sick, and obviously we’ve had some deaths across the country,” Bucheit said.
The latest FDA report shows that there have been more than 1,000 reports of lung injuries and a handful of deaths connected to vaping nationwide. According to the FDA, the majority of those cases involved products with THC.
The FDA is now warning people to stop using all E-cigs with THC and all vaping products that do not come from a safe source.
Bucheit said they have sent the items they seized to a lab to be tested for other substances.
When you receive or sell electronic cigarettes illegally, Bucheit says, you never really know what is inside of them, which could lead to you in handcuffs or in the hospital.
“The agents work a lot of long hours and try to do background checks and investigations and track things down, and we might be knocking on your door," Bucheit said.
Butler County investigators said they are now focused on finding out where the shipment came from. They are working with agencies around the country to figure it out.
Criminal charges are expected to be filed soon.