Utah troopers seized about 40,000 THC cartridges this year

This Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, photo shows two examples of legal vape pen packaging, left, and on the right are two bootleg versions of the same brand of Kingpen cannabis vape cartridges, displayed in the offices of its parent company, Loudpack, in Los Angeles. Bootleggers eager to profit off unsuspecting consumers are mimicking popular vape brands, pairing replica packaging churned out in Chinese factories with untested, and possibly adulterated, cannabis oil produced in the state's vast underground market. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Authorities say Utah troopers have confiscated 39,908 THC vaping cartridges on freeways so far in 2019.

This photo made available by the New York State Department of Health on Sept. 5, 2019 shows a few of the cannabis-containing vaping products which contained high levels of vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is a key focus of the department’s investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses. (Mike Wren/New York State Department of Health via AP)

The Deseret News reports Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street said Tuesday that his agency has seen a dramatic increase in drug dealers throughout the state carrying vaping cartridges filled with THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana.

Street said most of the cartridges seized are illegally produced locally while others are shipped to the U.S. from other countries.

The discovery comes as Utah’s tally of lung damage cases linked to vaping has increased to 71.

Officials with the Utah Department of Health estimate that 90% of the people who became sick reported vaping THC.

U.S. health officials said last week at least 805 people have become sick from vaping, and 13 people have died.

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