The investigation, dubbed Operation On The Ropes uncovered a scheme to secretly convert legitimate candies, including the popular Nerds Rope and Sour Patch candy brands, to an illegal THC-infused product. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance that creates most of marijuana’s “high.” Operation On The Ropes culminated with the execution of over a dozen search warrants in Monmouth, Ocean, and Bergen counties resulting in the seizure of approximately 21,000 packages of candy infused with suspected THC, 1,100 lbs. of suspected marijuana, and over 6,000 flavored THC vape cartridges, all with an estimated street value of $1.9 million.
Along with others, Lee D’Avanzo, 52, of Staten Island, New York, was charged with fourth degree Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana, fourth degree Possession of Marijuana in Excess of 50 grams.
In December, police raided the home of Drita and Lee D’Avanzo and found guns and drugs which led to a court protection order for the couple’s 12 year old daughter.
Both were released on bail for their December arrests for drug and weapons charges. They were also charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child.