A 35-year-old male from Whitman, Washington, was arrested after being found in possession of more than 100 containers of drinks infused with marijuana Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Derek Sheehan would make the drinks and infuse them with marijuana THC obtained from the dark web. He would then store them in his house from where he would distribute them to customers as per demand.
According to Whitman police, his apprehension came about after Sheehan sold the drinks to an undercover detective during three different occasions early last month. The happenings were reported and thereafter various law enforcement agencies coordinated efforts to bring the suspect to justice. These included W.E.B. Major Crimes and Drug Task Force, Firearms and Explosives, Plymouth County Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco. W.E.B. is a task force consisting of investigators from Whitman, Bridgewater State University, and East and West Bridgewater Police.
Chemical experts from the drug task force determined that the containers obtained from his house contained THC weighing 100 to 150mg. An application for a search warrant ensued to determine whether he had more illegal items other than the drugs.
On the afternoon of March 29, police searched his residence at Warren Avenue and found 138 bottles of THC infused beverages, THC vapor cartridges, a number of THC infused cookies, and marijuana. They also recovered a bag of mushrooms, several bottles believed to be the items used to extract THC from marijuana, blue pills and cash worth more than $5,000, all of which were seized.
Police also seized an unlisted firearm which Sheehan confessed to having assembled on his own after buying its parts from the darknet. His vehicle, which was parked at his residence, was also searched and found to contain 25 bottles similar to those found in his house and about 1lb of marijuana. Detectives also recovered documents holding new and old labels resembling the ones on the seized bottles and a plastic receptacle containing new plastic containers identical to those purchased by the detective earlier
Sheehan was charged with possessing a great capacity weapon, possessing an unlisted firearm, multiple counts of distributing a class C drug, multiple counts of possessing a Class C drug, possessing a Class C drug with intent to distribute it, possession of Class B and Class D drug with intent to distribute it.
Scott Benton, Chief of Whitman police, said the investigations had been thorough and comprehensive enough to bring to justice a man violating laws on drug and firearms. He made attractive beverages and infused them with the drug, a move which targeted children and the youth.
Benton concluded by thanking all law enforcement agents who took part in the investigations, arrest and seizure of the drugs and firearm which posed great risks to the security of the public and that of Whitman officers.
Sheehan is currently in the custody of the Plymouth House of Corrections and will be released on a bail of $75,000. He awaits the hearing of his case in Brockton District Court on Monday.
Research shows that incidences of finding food and beverages infused with marijuana have been increasing. They estimate that by the year 2022, sales of beverages infused with marijuana could reach as high as $600 million. Dark web drug vendors have taken notice of this development and have scaled up their sale of the product. They have taken to strategies such as advertising the product with claims of its therapeutic effects.
Legalization of the product in a number of regions around the world has led people to think that marijuana is beneficial. This has encouraged activists in other countries to champion for its acceptance and indiscriminate use. When such pleas are not acted upon, users tend to resort to the dark web. Debates continue as to whether the costs of prohibiting the drug and arresting lawbreakers outweigh the risks of increasing marijuana access, especially considering the potential harm it has on people’s health.
The U.S. government reports to have invested billions of dollars in the war against marijuana, but most Americans still view it as relatively safe, making their efforts futile.
Authorities, however, continue to beef up the war with the result being an explosive growth in the number of people incarcerated over marijuana-related charges.