Complaints about teens getting sick from vape products led to the arrest of a tobacco store owner and four raids Tuesday.
Abdulfatah Moha Mozib, 25, of 109 S. Franklin St., Whiteville, was charged with 13 counts each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a place for drug activity, as well as sale and delivery of the drug. His bond was set at $25,000, according to county detention records.
State Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) agents first raided Tabor Vape and Tobacco Outlet and EZ Vape in January, after complaints about teens becoming ill after using products purchased at the stores.
“ALE special agents initiated this investigation after receiving complaints of youth becoming sick after using a product purchased at one of these locations,” said Bryan House, director of NCALE.
State agents determined Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products from the two locations contained more than the legal 0.3 percent THC. The products yielded a THC concentration of 1.60 percent, more than five times the legal level.
Mozib was arrested in the January raid, along with Ryan Paul Taylor, 27, and Dennis Leroy Pogue, 61, both of Tabor City. He was released on bond on charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana.
As part of the ongoing investigation, ALE Spokesman William Happoldt said, officers from several agencies hit the Tabor Vape store and three related tobacco outlets in Whiteville in simultaneous raids Tuesday. Participating agencies included Whiteville and Tabor Police Departments, Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Secretary of State, and state Department of Revenue.
All four of the businesses were owned and operated by Mozib, Happoldt said in a press release.
Around noon, agents raided Zack’s Discount Tobacco in the Whiteville Mini-Mall; 910 Vape and Tobacco on Jefferson Street; and M&A Tobacco at Columbus Corners shopping center. They also raided Tabor Tobacco and Vape Outlet.
In addition to seizing a “large quantity” of THC and marijuana products, agents confiscated counterfeit trademarked merchandise.
“Our joint efforts have delivered a resounding message that the illegal sell of vape products containing prohibited substances will not be tolerated within our county,” said Columbus County Sheriff Bill Rogers. “We remain committed to protecting our community, especially our youth, from these harmful substances.”
“This is an ongoing case, and we will continue to partner with other agencies to address this criminal activity and identify those who are profiting from these crimes,” House said.