ANOKA COUNTY, Minn — A Champlin man has been charged with the possession of 76,972 illegal THC cartridges in what the Northwest Metro Drug Task Force call a record drug bust in Minnesota.
Valentin V. Andonii, 22, was charged with one count of first-degree drug possession and one count of first-degree drug distribution of illegal cartridges with a high concentration of THC. According to the complaint, the total amount of THC in the cartridges is in excess of 84 kilograms.
"This case highlights just one case of many that are going on across the state," said Brian Marquart, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Justice Programs statewide gang and drug coordinator said during a press conference Tuesday on the bust.
The investigation began in July and extended all the way up to Monday's arrest of Andonii, who will appear in court on Oct. 22 in Anoka County.
The suspect appeared in court Wednesday where his bail was set at $1 million with interim conditions that he remain in the state and surrender his passport. Unconditional bail was set at $3 million.
According to the complaint, officials were tipped off by a confidential informant, who was in contact with the Andonii and could arrange controlled buys from the suspect.
The complaint says the informant agreed to purchase 100 THC cartridges for $1,500 in July, August or September. An undercover detective met with the suspect at a pre-arranged location in Anoka County to complete the transaction.
According to the complaint, the package purchased was later confirmed to contain 100 cartridges believed to contain "94 (percent) or greater THC," as labeled on the package, and tested positive for THC.
A second transaction occurred in July, August or September of another 100 THC cartridge purchase for $1,500. The package purchased was again labeled "contains 94 (percent) or greater THC," and again tested positive for THC.
The Northwest Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant for a residence in Coon Rapids, which was confirmed to be the suspect's residence. Andonii was arrested inside the residence. In addition to the cartridges, which each contained 1.1 grams of THC, investigators found other marijuana and THC-related evidence, and $23,380 in counterfeit money.
Investigators say they aren't sure whether the cartridges in this case were manufactured on the black market or are cartridges which are legal in other states and were then brought to Minnesota.