Pot is one hot commodity this year -- at least, judging by the insanely large loads the U.S. Border Patrol have seized this summer.
During the month of July alone, Tucson seized more than 100,000 pounds of pot -- bringing the total poundage to 1,065,325 this year. That's well above the 722,000 pounds the Border Patrol had seized by the end of last July.
Why the dramatic increase? Tucson sector spokesperson Mario Escalante believes it's because the Border Patrol is getting so damn good at catching the bad guys.
"We attribute our success to us allocating necessary resources where we deem necessary," he says.
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Yuma sector spokesperson Ben Vik has another (probably more complete) explanation: Sure, Border Patrol strategies have improved. But cartels may also be bringing in more drugs -- and in higher volumes -- in response to new Border Patrol strategies: Rather than bringing across lots of little loads, they're making fewer trips with more drugs.
Additionally, cartels have begun to build more tunnels across the border -- two were recently discovered for the first time ever in Pima county. And drug lords are sending one-man ultralights (sort of like a small motorized hang glider) stacked to the brim with contraband to fly over the border walls.
And we're still weeks away from the typically huge fall harvest.