Highway Patrol Troop F said a traffic stop on I-70 in Cooper County Wednesday night happened when an SUV crossed the center line.
Troopers said during the stop one of their K9’s sniffed out $1.1 million worth of THC vape cartridges. There were 22,200 cartridges within boxes in the vehicle.
Cops said that they pulled over an SUV on I-70 after the vehicle was observed crossing over a lane divider line. After performing an initial roadside stop protocol, a drug dog was brought out of the cop car to walk around the truck, and immediately alerted officers to the presence of drugs.
As a result, 23-year-old Benjamin J. Cutler and 65-year-old Robert S. Cutler, both of Mooresville, North Carolina were arrested on a charge of felony delivery of a controlled substance – marijuana. According to Cooper County Jail officials, both bonded out on a $7,500 cash each.
The vehicle originated in North Carolina, but it is not yet clear if the men were intending to deliver the cartridges to Missouri, or if they were simply driving through on their way to another state.
In the face of the still-evolving vape illness crisis, police departments across the country have been more active in pursuing manufacturers and distributors of cannabis vape cartridges over the past few months. On a whole, even the most conservative statistics estimate that cops have confiscated more than half a million black market cartridges in the past two years alone.
Hotz said THC vaping products can sometimes be confused with vape juice and even CBD products, both which are legal and sold in shops like ‘Up in Smoke Smoke Shop’ in Holts Summit. Employee Joshua Lee said he understands the struggles law enforcement face with these products.
“There is currently no road side test availble to detect how much THC is present in any given item. So, things like the CBD flower or CBD vape cartridges they can and usually will test positive for trace amounts of THC,” Lee said. “A roadside test kit will show that a perfectly legal substance both on the federal and state level contains THC and when you’ve got a citizen of our nation telling a police officer, no you can’t take my stuff because it’s legal, what is a police officer supposed to do?”
THC dangers according to the CDC
CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury. Recent CDC laboratory testing of fluid samples from the lungs from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the samples. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive, most notably as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products. CDC recommends that people should not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers. While this investigation is ongoing, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
In addition, people should not add any substance to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. CDC will continue to update guidance, as appropriate, as new data become available from this outbreak investigation.