Waynesboro police seized 1,081 THC vape cartridges and more than $46,000 in a raid Tuesday evening on James Avenue that resulted in three arrests.

Brothers Alex R. Copeland, 25, and Kendric Copeland, 24, as well as Julian Tracy-Rucker, 35, have been jailed and are facing drug and firearm charges, said Waynesboro Police Capt. Kelly Walker.

At a press conference held Wednesday at the Waynesboro Police Department, Capt. Kelly Walker said members of the SWAT team and the Special Operations Division served a warrant the previous day at 405 James Avenue.{div}

A tip about a man wanted out of Virginia Beach from neighboring Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force received earlier in the week prompted an investigation by police, Walker said. Officers confirmed Tracy-Rucker was residing at 405 James Avenue. Tracy-Rucker was wanted for a parole violation, and was also under suspicion of trafficking drugs through the mail, Walker said.{/div} {div} {/div} {div} Members of the SWAT team and the Special Operations Division found much more than expected when a warrant was served, Walker said.{/div} {div}

“Once we observed weapons and drugs, we secured the residence at that point and obtained an additional search warrant to completely search the house for drugs and other contraband,” he said.

Police recovered $46,389 in cash, 1,081 “Dank Vapes” brand vapor pen vials in a variety of flavors and colorful packages, 2.5 pounds of marijuana, 0.5 ounces of psychedelic mushrooms, 5 MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets, 1.5 grams of refined marijuana called “dab,” one loaded AR-15 rifle, and one loaded 9- millimeter handgun.

The approximate street value of the “Dank Vapes” brand THC vapor cartridges is $35 each, Walker said, bringing the estimated value of the cartridges at the scene to $37,000. If vape cartridges contain any THC, which causes a high in users, they are illegal in Virginia, he added. The drugs will be sent to the laboratory for testing to determine the exact amount and purity of THC.

“The vaping products… that’s something we haven’t seen before with the THC,” Walker said. “We’ve seen some of it, but certainly not in the quantity we have here.”

The “Dank Vapes” brand is popular on the black market and is linked to a vast number of the vape-related lung illnesses recently sprung up in the United States.

“This stuff is out here, and it’s dangerous,” Walker said.

Finding a loaded AR-15 rifle is an example of why SWAT is used for raids

“When we use the SWAT team to go in and do these types of operations, there’s a reason for it,” Walker said of the rifle. “This is the eventuality that sometimes faces our officers.”

When police officers entered the building, one subject attempted to flee out a back door, but was apprehended immediately by police.

Although the other two subjects had guns within their reach, Walker said, both surrendered without incident when confronted by members of the SWAT team. Tracey-Rucker is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail. The Copeland brothers are being held at Middle River Regional Jail on $2,000 secured bonds.

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