Vape sting leads to citations, seizure of illegal gaming motherboards

Published 11:10 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

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VIDOR — A vape/E-cigarette sting where a clerk allegedly sold an illegal substance to a minor led to the discovery of illegal gaming machines this week.

Pct. 2 Constable Jeremiah Gunter organized the sting and included Pct. 4 Constable Matt Ortego and Deputy Constable Marcelo Molfino.

Gunter had a cooperating minor enter several convenience stores and vape shops in Mauriceville and Vidor in an attempt to buy tobacco products, according to information from Gunter.

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“This operation was started because of the growing pandemic surrounding these nicotine products in and out of the schools and the easiness for our minors to purchase these products,” Gunter said in a social media post.

Out of the six Mauriceville locations, five allowed the sale to a minor. Two reportedly checked the minor’s driver’s license and still made the sale.

A store in Vidor also allowed the sale of a tobacco product to the minor.

It was the second location in Vidor, Smokers Club, that allegedly sold a drug to a minor, according to Gunter.

The clerk showed and displayed an illegal substance, THC wax, to the minor, Gunter said.

After the minor left the store, Gunter entered and reportedly confronted the clerk about the conversation with the minor.

THC wax, he said, is a strong, purer derivative of marijuana.

During the conversation with the clerk, Gunter allegedly found a small box under the counter with U.S. currency, and the clerk reportedly said the money was used to make payments to customers of the gambling machines.

The business had five operating 8 liner machines.

Law enforcement seized gambling machine computer boards and money associated with the gambling operation.

Gunter said each clerk who made the sale to the minor is receiving a citation.

Gunter thanked to Ortego and Molfino for their assistance and offered thanks to residents who have reached out with complaints. He said they are just getting started.

Only one location asked for an ID and refused the sale to the minor, the new Sunoco at Highway 12 and FM 1136.

Vidor Police Department assisted with the Smokers Club location, Gunter added.