Concerns Raised Over Illegal Sales of Vapes and THC Products to Minors


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Westlake Store Accused Of Selling Vapes, THC To Kids
Westlake Store Accused Of Selling Vapes, THC To Kids

The community of Westlake, Ohio, has been rocked by allegations that a local store has been illegally selling nicotine and THC vapes to underage individuals. The accusations, which surfaced in September 2022, have led to an extensive investigation involving multiple jurisdictions across Northeast Ohio.

Parents who became aware of the situation were instrumental in bringing the matter to the attention of law enforcement. Their reports alerted the Westlake Police Department to the store’s activities, prompting a thorough examination of the allegations. According to Captain Gerald Vogel, the owner of Magic Flash, an establishment located on Center Ridge Road, utilized social media platforms like Twitter to advertise the illegal products. Through these online channels, interested individuals could arrange to buy items either online or via in-person meetings.

In addition to the illegal sale of nicotine and THC vapes, tipsters also accused the store owner, 18-year-old Khaled Askar, of peddling marijuana and psychedelic drugs. The seriousness of the situation became evident when multiple teenagers were apprehended leaving the store with contraband in their possession. The discovery included a glass pipe, marijuana cigars, and two tobacco vapes.

A subsequent search of the store premises unveiled further evidence of wrongdoing, including “eight sealed baggies” of marijuana, a vacuum sealer commonly used in drug packaging, and several vape pen cartridges. Captain Vogel expressed concerns that Magic Flash had actively marketed itself as a go-to destination for underage individuals seeking illicit products. He emphasized that these minors, who should not have been in possession of such items in the first place, were willingly facilitated in obtaining them by the store.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, Askar has been arrested and charged with the “illegal distribution of cigarettes or other tobacco products.” However, the legal ramifications for Magic Flash are far from over. Westlake’s law director has filed a complaint with the Court of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga County, seeking a declaration of the store as a public nuisance. By pursuing this course of action, the authorities hope to obtain a preliminary injunction that would effectively shut down the business permanently.

The impact of these illegal sales on the community, particularly its younger members, cannot be underestimated. Captain Vogel stressed the detrimental effects on both the community and the minors involved, emphasizing the commitment to pursuing criminal and civil actions against the store. The charges against the teenage customers have also been addressed through either the juvenile court system or the Westlake Diversion Program, which aims to educate young individuals involved in criminal behavior.

Attempts to speak with Askar at his place of business were unsuccessful, and the investigation continues. Westlake police have urged any additional parents with information about the store’s activities to come forward and contact them directly.

Instances such as these serve as a stark reminder of the importance of responsible commerce and the need to protect vulnerable members of society. The case surrounding Magic Flash highlights the crucial role that parental vigilance and community involvement play in combating illegal activities and safeguarding the welfare of young individuals.

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