Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

South side drug bust nears $1M

Tubs of cash, 10,000 THC vape cartridges, 2 arrests

- Raquel Rutledge and Mary Spicuzza

Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, Milwaukee police uncovered nearly $1 million in cash and more than 10,000 THC vaping cartridges in a small home on a modest street on the city’s south side last week.

Police searched a two-bedroom Cape Cod on West Norwich Court on Tuesday, finding 18 pounds of marijuana, aside from the cartridges filled with THC oil, as well as a loaded weapon, and took into custody a couple in their 30s living there, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday.

Police arrested Govanny “Gio” Molina, 34, and Amanda Ware, 30, both on charges of maintainin­g a drug trafficking place, use of a dangerous weapon and possession with intent to distribute more than 10,000 grams of THC or 200 plants, as party to a crime.

The cash was found in a bedroom closet tucked inside two 20-gallon plastic storage totes, one with $450,500 and the other with $452,680. Police also found about $30,000 in a dresser drawer.

Investigat­ors also found various pieces of jewelry, including a gold and diamond necklace worth $15,000.

The bust follows arrests last month of three members of a Kenosha family accused of running a massive counterfei­t THC vape cartridge operation that reportedly produced as many as 5,000 cartridges a day.

The arrests come as doctors and epidemiolo­gists across the country scramble to figure out what is causing severe lung damage in more than 1,000 people – mostly teens and young adults – who said they recently vaped THC or nicotine or both. At least 18 people have died from what doctors say was vaping-related illness.

Throughout the south side Milwaukee house, investigat­ors found large amounts of marijuana, according to the complaint. In the front hallway, there were bags and jars labeled “Power Wreck” and “State Flower” as well as Valhalla brand packages of cannabisin­fused gummies. In the living room, there were bags of marijuana with strains labeled as “Blue Cookies,” “P Butter,” “Golden Ticket,” “Power Wreck,” “Gorilla Glue #4” and “Live Well.”

In the garage, they found a vacuum sealer, a table covered with various bags and containers of marijuana, and 13,509 vape cartridges and edibles containing THC, the psychoacti­ve ingredient in marijuana. The vape cartridges had packaging labeling them as “KRT,” “King Pen,” “Connected Brass Knuckles” and “Cookies,” as well as more than 1,660 “Dank” vape cartridges.

In an ottoman, investigat­ors found a safe with a loaded Smith & Wesson semiautoma­tic handgun with a laser and flashlight attachment­s, as well as a Smith & Wesson magazine and cartridges.

In the days leading up to the search warrant, the house was under surveillan­ce, and officers saw both Molina and Ware coming and going and driving a Range Rover. Officers found belongings to both Molina and Ware in the house, the complaint states. A search of Molina’s BMW also turned up a “Hawaiian Punch”-flavored THC vape cartridge.

Cash bond was set at $25,000 each.

 ??  ?? Molina
 ??  ?? Ware

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