LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The father of a Louisa County man accused of selling narcotics from a Vape shop says he is “ashamed”, “disgraced” and “hurt for the vaping industry and community at large.”
This week, 40-year-old Leonard Wright IV was charged on multiple counts of distribution of a controlled substance after authorities say he and 33-year-old Johanna Baber, sold cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, LSD, and THC oil from Lake Anna Vapes.
Leonard Wright III, the accused criminal’s father, said he originally opened the store back in 2015 and never wanted it to be involved in illegal activity. “This was going to be my son’s inheritance,” he said. Wright III said he noticed “suspicious behavior” in his son months ago and tried to remove his name from the business completely. It’s unclear how Johanna Baber, the woman charged, is affiliated with the business.
Louisa County authorities say the investigation began in January with assistance from the Virginia State Police Narcotics and Gang Task Force. “They investigated it, they were able to make some undercover buys, and that’s about all I’ll say about that,” Sheriff Donnie Lowe told 8News on Thursday. Authorities say employees were seen selling the drugs.
On August 10, they executed a search warrant and raided the store. Wright III said he shut the shop down on August 30. “We’re recovering from this. It’s hit my family hard,” he told 8News on Thursday. Wright III said though he was suspicious, he didn’t know what was going on inside Lake Anna Vapes.
“If I had known, I would have thrown him under the bus,” he said. “I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for my son right now.” The father said he will be cooperating with the authorities and support the outcome in court, regardless of what it is. When asked if he would testify against his son, he said “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
“Any time you have a drug dealer that deals this type of drugs, it’s a significant impact,” Lowe said. The sheriff said sharable details are limited since the investigation is still active. He wouldn’t say how long the drugs were being sold out from the shop or tell 8News how many customers had purchased them.
However, in the popular vacation spot, Lowe said bringing the case to court is a significant achievement.
“This won’t eliminate the drugs in our county at all, but at least it starts holding people accountable,” he said. Lowe said he is very proud of his men and women who contributed to this investigation.
This incident remains under investigation. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office at (540)967-1234, or Louisa County Crime Solvers at (800)346-1466.