3 more charged: Prosecutors say 2 men in THC vape operation drove wax to WI; 1 helped fill cartridges

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THC vaping seizure in Kenosha County

THC vaping seizure in Kenosha County

KENOSHA — Charges were filed Wednesday, Oct. 23 against three more people in connection with what investigators said was a large-scale black market THC vape manufacturing operation in southeastern Wisconsin. One of the men stands accused of helping to fill cartridges with THC oil, while the other two are accused of transporting THC wax to Kenosha/Racine counties for the vape cartridges.

"It does keep unraveling as we investigate it," said Sgt. Chris Hannah with the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, Oct. 24. "The investigation is still open at this time. We are currently actively interviewing subjects and conducting that investigation."

Charges are as follows:

Daniel Graumenz, 19, of Salem:

  • Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams), as party to a crime
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place

Tarail King, 23, of Racine:

  • Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams) -- three counts
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place -- four counts

Wesley Webb, 20, of Racine:

  • Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams), as party to a crime

Daniel Graumenz, Tarail King

According to prosecutors, a confidential informant told investigators Graumenz filled cartridges in the back room of Realty Executives in Union Grove (Courtney Huffhines' realty office), and in the condo in Bristol prosecutors said Courtney Huffhines rented using a stolen identity. Graumenz told investigators he knew Tyler Huffhines, the alleged ringleader, from school, and Tyler paid him to fill cartridges at both locations. He estimated they filled 5,000 cartridges a day -- heating up jars of wax or oil in a pot of water on a hot pad, filling the cartridge, and then putting the cap on, with Tyler and Jacob Huffhines telling the workers they were making dab cartridges. Graumenz said Tyler gave him money to go to Menards to buy drills to put the caps on. He also said Tyler would bring the workers food, and Jacob would hang out with them while they filled cartridges, for which they were paid $20 an hour. Graumenz estimated he would work for six to seven hours a day.

Prosecutors said Graumenz indicated he and two others, including Hannah Curty, took cartridges to Graumenz's mother's house in Salem Lakes, where Tyler paid them $400 for storage, and Tyler eventually picked them up from Graumenz's mother's shed.

Tarail King said he also knew Tyler from high school and Jacob from middle school. He told investigators Tyler had been selling cartridges since at least August 2018, and he worked at both the Union Grove realty office and the Bristol condo, however, he did not fill cartridges. He indicated at one point he had an argument with Tyler about the places being run like sweatshops. King said Tyler would pay him $20 per hour to clean, scrub tables, throw out boxes, fold boxes, and do other miscellaneous tasks. He said Tyler had people fill out timesheets, and sold cartridges on Snapchat, according to the complaint.

King said he drove THC wax to Kenosha County from other locations for Tyler on three occasions, according to the complaint. He said the first time was January 2019, when Tyler asked him to fly to Colorado. He said he was paid $500 to drive back to Salem Lakes, and he figured there was "stuff" in the vehicle he took to Huffhines' home. The second time was July or August 2019. He said Tyler paid for a ticket to Los Angeles, and from there, King was the "lead car" and someone else followed him, ordered to crash to distract police if the lead car was stopped. They drove to Bristol, where the THC wax was unloaded. King said he was paid $2,000, while the driver of the follow car got $1,500. The third time, King said he flew to Los Angeles with Tyler the weekend before Labor Day weekend 2019. On this occasion, Wesley Webb was the driver of the follow car, and they drove 40 hours to the Bristol condo, where Tyler paid King $2,500 and Webb $1,500.

THC vaping seizure in Kenosha County

THC vaping seizure in Kenosha County

The three are among eight people charged in the case. Charges against the others are as follows:

Tyler Huffhines, 20 (Filed Sept. 16)

  • Possession with intent to deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams)
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place -- two counts
  • Misappropriating ID information to obtain money

Jacob Huffhines, 23 (Filed Sept. 16)

  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony, repeater
    Possession of cocaine (second-plus offense)
  • Possession of THC (second-plus offense)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, repeater
  • Possession of a controlled substance, repeater
  • Possession with intent to deliver THC -- greater than 10,000 grams -- two counts

Courtney Huffhines, 43 (Filed Oct. 1)

  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place
  • Misappropriating ID information to obtain money, as party to a crime -- two counts
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place, as party to a crime
  • Possession with intent to deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams), as party to a crime -- two counts

Hannah Curty, 20, of Racine (Filed Oct. 3)

  • Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams), as party to a crime

Jordan Lynam, 22, of Racine (Filed Oct. 17)

  • Manufacture/deliver THC (greater than 10,000 grams), as party to a crime
Tyler Huffhines, Jacob Huffhines, Courtney Huffhines, Hannah Curty, Jordan Lynam

Tyler Huffhines, Jacob Huffhines, Courtney Huffhines, Hannah Curty, Jordan Lynam

Prosecutors said Curty and Lynam filled cartridges at the Union Grove realty office and at the Bristol condo, according to confidential informants.

Prosecutors said Jacob Huffhines, 23, and Tyler Huffhines, 20 were selling the THC vape cartridges in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. The brothers and their mother, 43-year-old Courtney Huffhines, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Vape cartridges confiscated in Kenosha County

"The extent of the Huffhines' activity is still unknown at this time," said Sgt. Hannah on Thursday. "It's still an open investigation. The sheriff's department is still actively investigating it and following all leads."

Pre-trial conferences were scheduled for Jan. 16. 2020 for the Huffhines, Curty, and Lynam.

Meanwhile, federal officials were assisting with this investigation, and the cartridges were being tested to determine whether they could be connected to any of the deaths being blamed on vaping.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 22, there were 1,604 lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette products in 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alaska is the only state without a reported case.

The CDC on Thursday also identified 34 vaping-related deaths in 24 states: Three each from California, Indiana, and Minnesota; two each from Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, and Oregon; and one each from Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

The patients who died ranged in age from 17 to 75.

Jacob Huffhines, Tyler Huffhines, Courtney Huffhines, Hannah Curty

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