CATSKILL — A store clerk in Catskill has been arrested for a felony after a multi-agency investigation into illegal vaping sales in the village, according to a statement from the Catskill Police Department.
Police have not released the name of the clerk, who is employed at NYC Deli Grocers at 296 Main St.
The clerk was charged with one count of second degree criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument, one count D felony, one count second degree unlawful trafficking with a child, one count B misdemeanor and two violations of New York State Public Health Law. , police said.
In New York State, the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes, vapor or liquid nicotine products to persons under the age of 21 is prohibited.
The investigation began when concerned parents contacted Catskill Police and reported that their children, all underage, were buying nicotine vape pens from NYC Deli.
Catskill Police have opened the investigation with the assistance of state police and the Greene County District Attorney’s Office, police said.
On Wednesday, police made a controlled purchase by minors at the deli. A 16 year old bought a Hyde nicotine vape pen from the seller.
Shortly after making the sale to the minor, the store clerk was arrested, police said.
After the arrest, the clerk was released with appearance tickets for Catskill City Court on April 14.
Catskill Police thanked the concerned parents for reporting the incident.
“They have helped protect all of our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and other associated health risks,” police said in the statement. “The recent increase in vape pen use among youth in our community and surrounding communities is cause for great concern.”
According to New York criminal law, a person is guilty of second-degree criminal possession of a counterfeit instrument when, knowing that it is counterfeit and with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another person, utters or possesses a counterfeit instrument, including a written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, official or government.
If found guilty of this charge by a court, the sentence can range from 30 days in prison to seven years in prison. The sentence may also include a period of probation, community service and a fine.
New York criminal law defines second degree as dealing unlawfully with a child as selling or causing to be sold tobacco in any form to a child under the age of twenty-one. The same charge applies to alcohol and tattooing.
If convicted of this charge, the sentence could include up to 90 days in jail, one year probation and a fine.