Crime experts say Ohio interstates have become a major transportation route for drug smugglers.
The Ohio State Highway patrol is stepping up its efforts to intercept the shipments.
Parked in the median along U.S. Route 23 near Circleville, OSP Sgt. Kevin Dillard told 10TV’s Jerry Revish about the random nature of drug traffickers that he runs into on Ohio roadways.
“They run the gamut – age, race, doesn’t matter. It’s anything and everything,” said Dillard.
He said there is no telling what he will find in the next car he pulls over. He stops one for following too closely behind another motorist.
Just seconds into his conversation with a nervous-looking passenger, he notices something is not right.
“What are you hiding? No, no, no. I just saw you shove something in your underwear. Listen to me. What did you just shove in your underwear,” Dillard asked the passenger.
Dillard said he suspected him of trying to hide contraband in his body, a common technique among drug traffickers.
“OK, take that off. Face that way. Put your hands behind your back. Give me your hand. Don’t move, you understand? You shoved something up there, didn’t you? Be honest with me, because you’re about to go to jail,” Dillard told the man.
While being frisked, a plastic glove fell to the ground. Cutting open the fingers of the glove, troopers found what they believed to be percoset, vicodin and other drugs.
“I won’t charge him until I know what it is,” Dillard said. “I’m going to send them away to the lab. When they come back, he’ll be charged with it.”
Last year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol made more than 7,600 drug arrests -- about 1,500 more than in 2011.
Over the course of the two years, troopers have seized more than $117 million in illegal drugs, cash and property.
But catching major drug smugglers is a hit-or-miss proposition. For every drug shipment troopers intercept, there are a number of others that slip away.
A recent traffic stop of an ordinary-looking van yielded 30 pounds of marijuana and $70,000 in cash hidden in the floor.
The confiscated drugs end up at the state patrol’s Crime Lab evidence room.
“Everything from black tar heroin to powdered heroin, cocaine and BC Bud, a potent type of marijuana, said OHP Lt. Anne Ralston.
Once a case is closed, everything gets incinerated.
In the case of the suspect Dillard encountered along U.S. 23 in Circleville, the sergeant gave him a court date – and something to think about.
“Every time you shoot up from this day forward, think of your kids sitting right across from you,” Dillard told the man. “Be careful. Good luck.”
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