WAYNESBORO, Va. – Police in Waynesboro arrested three men and seized more than 1,000 THC vape cartridges that have been linked to recent lung illnesses.
Members of the Waynesboro Police Department SWAT Team and Special Operations Division executed a search warrant at 405 James Avenue on the afternoon of September 24.
The search warrant was based on a tip received from the neighboring Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force (JADE) concerning a man who was wanted out of Virginia Beach.
Police say the tip reported that the fugitive could be trafficking drugs through the mail.
After executing a search warrant at the home, police say one suspect attempted to escape through a back door but was apprehended by perimeter units.
Inside the residence, two suspects surrendered after being confronted by members of the SWAT Team.
During the execution of the search warrant, police recovered:
- $46,389 in cash
- 1,081 “Dank” brand vapor pen vials of various flavors, each containing approximately 1 gram of 90% pure liquid THC mixture
- 2.5 pounds of marijuana
- .5 ounce of psychedelic mushrooms
- 1.5 grams of “dab” (refined marijuana)
- One loaded AR-15 rifle
- One loaded 9mm Handgun
- 5 MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets
Police say the “Dank” THC vapor cartridges typically sell for $35 each, making their street value approximately $37,000. The vape cartridges have been linked to vaping-related illnesses across the United States.
Last week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed that there were nearly two dozen confirmed and probable cases of lung illness associated with e-cigarette use, following the rising nationwide trend.
The VDH also cautioned people who use e-cigarette products not to buy the products off the street and they should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.
Julian Keith Tracey-Rucker, 35, Alex Ralph Copeland, 25, and Kendric Copeland, 24, all of Waynesboro, were arrested during the raid.
Tracey-Rucker was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to sell more than one-half ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana and possession of a firearm while attempting to distribute more than one pound of marijuana. He is also being held on a probation violation out of Virginia Beach.
Tracey-Rucker is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail.
Alex Copeland was charged with possession with intent to distribute more than a half-ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana and possession of a firearm while attempting to distribute more than one pound of marijuana.
Kendric Copeland was charged with possession with intent to distribute more than a half-ounce but less than five pounds of marijuana and possession of a firearm while attempting to distribute more than one pound of marijuana.
Alex and Kendric Copeland are being held on $2,000 secured bonds at Middle River Regional Jail.