23,000 THC cartridges seized in federal drug investigation that led to Pepper Pike man’s arrest

Three men, including two from Florida and one from Pepper Pike, face federal drug charges after agents seized more than 23,000 THC cartridges used in vaping devices during an investigation last month, authorities say.

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Frank Altieri, 25, of Brooklyn, Florida; David Bruell, 28, of Pepper Pike; and James Campbell, 35, of Boynton Beach, Florida. Each face charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Campbell traveled April 11 to Cleveland to meet with Altieri at a Holiday Inn Express near Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, where they put boxes with the THC cartridges into a Chevrolet Tahoe. Campbell drove to a house on Elsetta Avenue in Cleveland.

Agents said that people arrived and moved boxes into the home. Authorities later searched the home and found 5,888 cartridges.

Agents also searched Bruell’s home on Brandywood Drive in Pepper Pike and found more cartridges and cash. They also found more marijuana and cartridges at Bruell’s rental units in Warrensville Heights in Columbus, authorities said.

All three are in federal custody. Campbell admitted to agents that he travels between California, Ohio and elsewhere, dropping off THC cartridges and picking up money, according to an affidavit written in April by Lake County Narcotics Agency agent Daniel Lajack.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of nearly $1.5 million that agents seized, according to a news release.

While many states, including Ohio have relaxed laws surrounding marijuana and allowed for it to at least be consumed for medical purposes, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. Cases involving marijuana are not frequent on the federal level, though prosecutors have brought them in recent years if suspected drug traffickers are moving large amounts or if it’s combined with another crime such as money laundering.

Published by Cleveland Plain Dealer

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