Drug cartels have been getting creative when it comes to getting drugs across the U.S. border. They’ve used catapults, submarines, drones, and backpackers. And, now, those backpackers are lugging what looks like crude oil, but it’s really pure THC concentrate. Law enforcement officials in Arizona have been on the trail of these backpackers.
According to Detective Shay of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), it takes about 250 pounds of marijuana to make a 5-gallon bucket of THC concentrate, or as he calls it, “crude cannabis oil,” ABC 15 News reported. It’s estimated that one bucket of the concentrate can make more than $500,000 worth of vape cartridges.
Detective Shay said, “I started to see the people that would usually backpack marijuana through the desert were now backpacking up crude oil.”
Vaping has become a popular consumption method for marijuana. Detective Shay speculates this is the driving force behind the cartels’ shift from illegally transporting and selling marijuana flowers to concentrates.
Detective Shay said, “The black-market cannabis cartridges are going to be hazardous, period.”