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Minnesota’s roads: Safe for vehicle traffic, not drug traffic​

Feb. 26, 2018

Minnesota State Trooper traffic stop
Minnesota’s highways and interstates bring wonderful things: food and products shipped from afar. Friends to see each other. Families to go on adventures together. But they can also be used to bring undesirable things – like drugs – to our communities.

The Minnesota State Patrol is all about making sure people obey the speed limit, drive sober and avoid distracted driving. But their mission also involves public safety in general, and that (in part) means stopping illicit drugs from getting to their intended destinations via Minnesota’s roads.

This is done in part with the State Patrol’s 15 K-9 teams that are trained to detect the odor of narcotics. If a K-9 trooper stops a vehicle for any violation, they’ll use their dog if they suspect there are drugs present. Although lately, people don’t seem as keen on hiding it. 

Earlier this month, for example, a trooper stopped a vehicle for an obstructed license plate. In plain sight, the trooper could see bags on the center console and a woman sitting on packaged bags of marijuana. In all, the State Patrol seized 300 pounds of marijuana from that one vehicle.

On Minnesota roads, drug seizures in general – and marijuana seizures in particular – are clearly trending upward. In 2017, the State Patrol seized over 2,600 pounds of marijuana alone. And compared to the 389 pounds seized in 2016, that’s quite the uptick. Judging by the drug seizures we’ve seen so far this year, 2018 is shaping up to have similarly high drug trafficking numbers – like the stop in January when a trooper deployed his K-9 partner, who discovered about 200 pounds of marijuana. The K-9 team took $600,000 worth of marijuana off the street that day.

This trend may seem worrisome, but the good news is that the 2,600 pounds of marijuana seized in 2017 never arrived at its intended destination – along with 160 pounds of meth, 17 pounds of cocaine, and 14 pounds of heroin. That results in more Minnesotan lives and communities staying safe from the ravages of the illicit drug trade.

What’s another great result of the State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies getting drugs off Minnesota roads? Minnesotans can feel safer using the roads for their intended purpose: carrying them to and fro for work, life and fun.