Police: Smoke shop sold tobacco products to minors; owner said probe "blown out of proportion"

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Goodyear Police officers busted a vape shop for selling to minors in a sting operation that went down last Friday night.

According to officials, officers cited seven people, including five teenagers ranging from 15 to 17 years old. The owner said the investigation is being blown out of proportion. Meanwhile, police officials said they received several complaints on the smoke shop, and officials said members of its Neighborhood Enforcement Team witnessed the illegal purchases.

According to police, 20-year-old Ramzy Asi has been cited for selling tobacco to underage customers.

"And that 20-year-old employee did admit to not checking IDs, and that he had sold to those minors that evening," said Goodyear Police spokesperson Lisa Berry.

The owner of Innovape said police may have taken his employees statement out of context, and that Asi just doesn't ID regular customers who are of age.

"We do check IDs. We do take things seriously in that manner and hopefully continue to do so, and that's the way we operate here," said owner Sam Solomon.

Police cited and released the five minors for possession of tobacco last Friday night, and also cited an adult for drug paraphernalia. Goodyear Police officials said its Neighborhood Enforcement Team takes the complaints that led to this investigation seriously.

"with the growing epidemic of vaping in the whole country, we are seeking to educate the public and to enforce the law," said Berry.

Solomon said his shop has been at the location for eight years with no problems, and feels targeted.

"The heat is all on smoke and vape shops around the Valley and this one incident, I hope, doesn't reflect on our business," said Solomon.

Solomon went on to say the employee accused of selling tobacco to minors is still working at the shop. Solomon is on the worker's side, and said he plans to prevent any more citations in the future.