A man has been sentenced to prison in what officials say is the biggest drug bust of it's kind in Minnesota. The Star Tribune reports that Valentin V. Andonii of Champlin Minnesota has been handed a 5 1/2 year prison sentence for the drug seizure that took place in September of 2019.

Anoka County Jail
Anoka County Jail

The arrest happened at a Coon Rapids condominium in Anoka County, Minnesota. A search of Andonii's escalade found thousands of THC vape cartridges. More were found in the condominium and adjacent garage. In all, 76,972 cartridges were seized. The amount of THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana combined weighed 185 pounds. Authorities say the street value of the drug bust is roughly $4 million dollars.

In addition to the cartridges being seized, authorities also confiscated $145,000 and $23,800 in counterfeit money.

Valentin Andonii has been credited with time served, and will continue to serve the remaining 3 and 1/3 years in prison and "the balance on supervised release."

Black market THC vape carts were making people sick with unhealthy additives, putting many people on ventilators with lung scarring pre-pandemic. Vitamin E Acetate was being used in some cases to thicken the juice which led to illness and death. The outbreak occurred in 2019, and Minnesota saw 149 probable cases and three confirmed deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 

The packaging containing the THC carts were colorful showing cartoons and candy, which authorities say targets children. Legal medicinal marijuana packaging is not allowed to display anything other than the manufacturer's business name, logo, and must minimize its appeal to children.

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