Kenosha County brothers charged, accused of running massive drug operation

KENOSHA -- Tyler and Jacob Huffhines are now charged, accused of operating an "empire of illegal drugs." The two were busted in connection with a ring of illegal THC vaping cartridges worth millions of dollars. The two made initial appearances in Kenosha County court on Monday afternoon, Sept. 16.

Tyler Huffhines

Jacob Huffhines

The Huffhines are charged with the following:

    Officials say Tyler Huffhines was the mastermind behind it all -- starting the illegal empire from just 100 cartridges and turning it into possibly one of the largest drug operations of its kind in the country.

    Vape cartridges seized in Kenosha County

    The two brothers appeared in Kenosha County court on Monday one after the other. Prosecutors say the two are accused of taking a major trip side-by-side.

    "Jacob Huffhines did go to California with his brother Tyler Huffhines with $300,000 in order to purchase the THC distillate that was found at the condominium," said the prosecutor in court.

    The complaint says Tyler Huffhines' Snapchat showed "he posted videos of him sitting in first class on the airplane" on his way to California. A confidential informant was able to provide information that the mason jars indeed made their way back to Wisconsin and they were being used to manufacture "between 4,000 and 5,000 cartridges per day," the complaint says.

    Officials say the brothers rented a condo that their mother managed. Investigators say the residence was obtained with a fake name. Police say the condo was being used for drug trafficking. Inside, detectives discovered a massive operation with THC buds and much more.

    Mason jars confiscated in Kenosha County

    "There were 31,000 cartridges ready to get shipped out and tens of thousands more waiting to get filled and then get shipped out in the future," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

    Sheriff Beth said tubs and mason jars were just a snapshot of what has gone out.

    "There are tens or hundreds of thousands of cartridges that have been shipped out and potentially hurt or even killed people in the past," Beth said. "So this is a grave concern for us here in Kenosha, and also the entire nation."

    Vape cartridges confiscated in Kenosha County

    Vape cartridges confiscated in Kenosha County

    When search warrants were executed on Sept. 5, officers located weapons, drugs, cape cartridges, empty vacuum-sealed bags and a digital scale -- all common paraphernalia for ingesting and weighing marijuana.

    When questioned by investigators, the complaint says Tyler Huffhines "stated he never smoked THC and got into the business solely to make money. He stated he saw a demand for THC vape cartridges so he started purchasing THC vape cartridges from California." Huffhines indicated all the money he made from selling the marijuana and THC vape cartridges was put back into the business," the complaint says. He told authorities, "You invest more, you make more. No risk, no reward."

    The complaint indicates Huffhines paid workers $20 cash per hour to fill THC cartridges for him. But he "found out that by changing it to 30 centers per cartridge, the people would work harder so their productivity went up and he saved even more money," according to the complaint. Huffhines stated he would stop by the condo in Bristol "once a day to say hi to the workers and then to also pay them."

    Sheriff Beth said was aware there were more people involved in this operation -- and his investigators were actively searching for them. Federal investigators would also be joining the search.

    Bond for the Huffhines brothers was set at $50,000 for Jacob and $500,000 for Tyler. Both are due back in court on Sept. 26.