FREEHOLD, N.J. – Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office announced charges related to a “large-scale marijuana and THC distribution network reportedly operating throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Bergen Counties, as well as parts of New York.”
Twenty-four men and women have been charged, with a California man remaining at-large as a fugitive, according Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Officials say investigation dubbed Operation On The Ropes uncovered a scheme by the suspects to turn candies, such as Nerds Rope and Sour Patch, into an illegal THC-infused product. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance that creates most of marijuana’s ‘high.’”
Officials say they “seized about 21,000 packages of candy infused with suspected THC, 1,100 pounds of suspected marijuana and more than 6,000 flavored THC vape cartridges, with an estimated street value of $1.9 million.”
As Gramiccioni explained, “The network operators used regular candy to further their scheme, buying hundreds of boxes of product from wholesalers before transporting it to a processing facility where they would unwrap the individual pieces of candy, lay it out on trays and then spraying the candy with a concentrated formula of THC distillate. Once the THC dried on the candy it was repackaged as an illegal marijuana edibles product for distribution across New Jersey.”
According to officials, the suspects allegedly operated their scheme out of a warehouse on Park Avenue in Manalapan Township and a hangar at Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall Township, which they reportedly used as production and storage facilities.
“The packaging on this THC laced ‘candy’ is almost indistinguishable from regular drug store candy,” said Monmouth County Chief of Detectives John G. McCabe. “Your kids may be getting high right before your eyes, if you are not paying close attention. This illegal operation makes juveniles and anyone who consumes these products susceptible to random levels of drug toxicity.”
Officials say they also seized machines and paraphernalia used “to repackage and repurpose candies as marijuana-related edible products.”
In addition, officials also seized a total of $10,151,711 in assets, $1,483,859 in cash, and 21 high-end exotic vehicles, including cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Mercedes Benz, with an estimated total value of about $2,783,445.
Arrested and charged in Operation On The Ropes:
Published: January 07, 2020