Taunton Vape Shop Owner, Employees Charged With Selling Marijuana
TAUNTON — Police Chief Edward Walsh reports that the Taunton Police Department arrested four vape shop employees and have charged its owner after an investigation into marijuana and marijuana products being sold out of the shop, including sales to minors.
Jason Correia, 25, of Taunton was charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana) and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Correia, who is the owner of Kloudy Visionz, located at 9 Old Colony Avenue in East Taunton, was issued a summons to appear in court to be arraigned at a later date.
The four store employees arrested were:
--Victor Burgos, 22, of Taunton, charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana and THC-based products) and conspiracy to violate drug laws
--Juan A. Padua, 27, of Taunton, charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class B drug (cocaine) and possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana), as well as conspiracy to violate drug laws
--Kody Braese, 23, of Dighton, charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana) and conspiracy to violate drug laws
--Alexander T. Lucia, 22, of Taunton, charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana) and conspiracy to violate drug laws
Those four men are expected to be arraigned on Monday in Taunton District Court.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, detectives from the Taunton Police Street Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at the business. Inside, the police located and seized approximately 12 ounces of marijuana, several marijuana edibles and chocolate bars, several cartridges of vape liquid containing THC and $5,000.
The shop's license to sell tobacco and nicotine products expired in 2018 and had not been renewed in 2019.
The four employees working in the store, later identified as Burgos, Padua, Braese and Lucia, were placed under arrest without incident. Correia was not at the store when officers executed the search warrant and he was issued a summons to appear in court.
The arrests and charges were the result of a weeks-long investigation into marijuana and marijuana products allegedly being sold out of the store.
Police received reports in recent weeks of high school-aged students buying marijuana products at the store. During the course of the investigation, several high school-aged children could be seen going in and out of the store, some of them riding to the store on their bicycles.
Many of the people in the store did not go to the cash register, but went off to the side of the store and still came out with products in hand.
"I want to commend the strong police work that went into this investigation and thank those who came forward about what was really going on in the store," Chief Walsh said. "While marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, the legal purchase age is 21 and it must be purchased from a store that is licensed to sell it. What these men were doing was just wrong, especially selling it to children."
The Taunton Health Department and License Commission have been notified of the arrests and investigation. The business has been open for about a year.
--Taunton Police Department