“Employees found over $1 million worth of pot stuffed into the spare tire wheel wells on several Fusions.”
When you think of a “loaded” car, you’re probably thinking about fancy options, such as a sunroof or entertainment system, not pounds of drugs. However, employees at an Ohio Ford dealership found out that their recently acquired, Mexican-made Ford Fusions came with more than they bargained for. Employees found over $1 million worth of pot stuffed into the spare tire wheel wells on several Fusions.
So far, federal authorities have found 15 cars with marijuana stored on board. Each half-moon brick of marijuana weighs in at nearly 32 pounds. The total street value of the drugs is believed to top $1 million. Most of the cars were found in Ohio, but a few had made their way to Pennsylvania. Other Mexican-made cars loaded with marijuana were discovered earlier this year in Arizona and Minnesota.
The smuggling plan is actually quite ingenious. Commercial shipments often enjoy more lax screenings than tourist and non-commercial visitors. Someone could load the cars up on the Mexican side of the border. Then, the cars will be shipped into the United States, where they can be unloaded. Most likely, the drugs were meant to be offloaded before ever reaching the dealership sales lots. Something, somewhere, must have gone wrong.
The cars discovered in Minnesota were shipped via sealed container cars. As of now, it remains unclear how the Fusions were shipped to Ohio. Most likely, many cars loaded with marijuana and other drugs are successfully unloaded by drug dealers before ever coming to the attention of authorities.
This smuggling plan also highlights a potential weakness in border walls and similar methods. Drug dealers will likely discover a way to circumvent walls and border controls.
Could Legalization Push Drug Cartels Out of Pot Market?
Mexican cartels reap millions, possibly billions, from marijuana exports to the United States. Yet, the cartels have come under pressure, with prices collapsing as states legalize marijuana. Many have argued that the best way to undercut drug cartels is to simply legalize marijuana. There is a lot of historical context for such an argument. During the 1920s and ‘30s, mafias rose to power by supplying illegal booze. Prohibition simply didn’t work, and people kept drinking even after it was made illegal.
Millions of Americans smoke marijuana each year, even where it is technically illegal. Studies have found that about 13% of American adults regularly consume marijuana. It’s estimated that roughly 43% of Americans have tried pot at one point or another. Despite years of the war on crime, usage rates have remained relatively constant and high.
Many states have begun to decriminalize and even legalize marijuana. Despite early hysteria suggesting that legalized pot would spur drug abuse, studies so far suggest that legalized pot isn’t spurring the use of other drugs. Marijuana use has increased among adults in Colorado, but not among children. Some studies also suggest that legalized marijuana has reduced deaths from opioid abuse in Colorado.
If marijuana were legalized, it’s possible that drug cartels would lose a valuable revenue stream. Once an industry is legalized, it is easier to regulate. Tax revenues can also be quite substantial. Colorado raised approximately $200 million in taxes via marijuana sales in 2016. These numbers are expected to rise dramatically in the future as marijuana sales increase.
In total, America’s pot market is believed to top $50 billion dollars. In comparison, the National Football League is believed to generate just over $13 billion dollars in revenue per year.