Sellers targeted B.C. minors via Snapchat to sell nicotine and THC vaping products, police say
Police on Vancouver Island have busted a vaping operation where nicotine- and THC-filled e-cigarettes were sold to youth at middle and high schools.
On Wednesday, Saanich police officers showed media a vape pen with a large dose of THC – the chemical that produces a marijuana high – seized as part of an investigation into a clandestine ring selling such products.
Const. Rob Winter, of the Saanich Police Department's Street Crime Unit, says some of the items seized contain "very high amounts" of THC – up to 98 per cent.
Officers began investigating after receiving a tip last November that adults were selling vape products to minors in public places.
Const. Markus Anastasiades said over the next several months, police observed people attending schools in Saanich and Greater Victoria.
Anastasiades added they were "selling vape products to minors on school grounds, in the parking lots at malls and in public spaces such as parks."
On Friday, police raided a business and seized more than $100,000 worth of goods. Among the items seized were vape products with flavours seemingly targeting young people, according to officers.
Anastasiades said it was concerning.
"These are banned substances," he said. "We can think of them much like tobacco products, if people were selling cigarettes, tobacco to youth at schools."
He added the sellers would contact kids primarily on the social media platform Snapchat, then bring vape pens and liquids to meet-up spots at schools and malls, disguising the products in food delivery bags or plastic containers. The sellers even had point-of-sale machines so kids could tap and go.
Stores can't sell to those under age 18, but it's unclear if any law was broken.
"This is a federal statute, not a criminal code offense," Anastasiades explained. "So there's agencies, external federal agencies that will be looking at this file that we've already consulted with."
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