NEW HOPE, Minn. (FOX 9) - Police say they have seized a record amount of illegal THC vaping cartridges in Coon Rapids worth millions of dollars.
Speaking Tuesday, investigators said a search warrant uncovered 76,972 cartridges at a home in the city on Monday. The value of the stash is believed to be $3.8 million, according to officials. They say the cartridges came from out-of-state for sale in Minnesota.
Currently, charges are pending against one man in Anoka County.
The seizure comes as health officials have warned users about vaping-related illnesses and deaths across the nation linked to illegal THC products.
Monday's bust started in New Hope, Minnesota where law enforcement officers got a tip about a man selling illegal THC products. Chief Tim Fournier says the investigation led them to execute the search warrant in Coon Rapids on Monday where they came across the cartridges. Along with the vaping cartridges, they also say they found other marijuana and THC evidence and more than $23,000 in counterfeit cash.
While discussing the bust, Chief Fournier also used to opportunity to warn of the ripple effect of potential recreational marijuana legalization in Minnesota.
"While the investigation is ongoing, these type of products are available for purchase in supplier states that have already passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana," the chief said. "If you think this is a problem now, wait until cannabis products become commercially available in Minnesota. This is another example on why we should pause and take our time before passing similar laws in this state. The black market suppliers don't go away when you legalize this type of product."
Authorities seized 75,000 THC vaping cartridges in Anoka County over the weekend. (Minnesota Department of Public Safety / FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul)
In recent weeks, concerns over vaping illegal THC products have grown to a national concern. Earlier this month, health officials linked a death in Minnesota to vaping illegal THC products. Aside from that, the Minnesota Department of Health has reported 43 confirmed or probable cases of vaping illnesses and 24 others that are under review.
Again Tuesday, health officials warned against using illegal THC vaping products.
"We currently have Minnesota children who are on mechanical ventilation due to this vaping injury," said Assistant Commission Daniel Huff of the Minnesota Department of Health. "So far, our investigation is correlating these injuries to illegally purchases THC vape cartridges."
"We warn everyone: Do not use illegal THC cartridges," concluded Huff. "They can be very dangerous."