LIVERMORE, Calif. (KRON) — A flavored tobacco company, Apollo Future Technology, is now facing charges from the state alleging a massive illegal flavored tobacco and synthetic cannabis operation. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office says the company sold its Apollo e-cigarettes to young children.
Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference on Wednesday at the Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce to discuss the charges filed.
“They used a warehouse as their base of operation to sell flavored e-cigs predominantly to individuals under the age of 21,” said Price.
The company is now facing a case against the State of California, alleging Apollo sold its e-cigarettes through its website without verifying the purchasers’ age and illegally shipped its flavored tobacco products through the mail without complying with state requirements.
The state also alleges the company manufactured and sold thousands of synthetic cannabis products, falsely claiming the products were legal and had less than 0.3 percent of THC.
“Eighty-seven jars of almost 100 percent synthetic cannabis were seized by the state, the Department of Public Health, and then converting that, fraudulently claiming it was less than 0.3 percent THC when, in fact, they were often far higher. That is the type of undercutting we look very seriously at,” said Gabriel Markoff, Consumer Justice Bureau.
The investigation initially began when a concerned superintendent notified Livermore police after noticing a high amount of Apollo packaging on his campuses. Livermore school officials are now starting to see elementary students smoking e-cigarettes.
“We have students as young as fifth grade with these products in their hands,” said Tracie Christmas, Livermore Joint Unified School District, “They get other students addicted to it.”
According to Christmas, these devices are easily disguised.
The D.A.’s office has filed a temporary restraining order against the company that will halt all in-person and online products from being sold.
A court date is set for Sept. 21.