OSHP intercepting 'cartel drugs' concealed in hidden compartments


The Ohio Highway Patrol said its Drug Interdiction Unit is one of the first lines of defense against Mexican drug cartels.

"We are the front line. We're stopping those drugs from ruining people's lives," said Lt. Robert Sellers.

But troopers are working harder to stay one step ahead of the cartels' creativity. Troopers said they're seizing drugs and money concealed in highly engineered, mechanized hidden compartments that can be difficult to locate.

Troopers showed CrimeTracker 10 one vehicle equipped with a trap that led all the way to the front firewall. Inside, the highway patrol says it recovered one kilo of heroin and 9 kilos of cocaine.

Troopers stopped another vehicle on I-70 in central Ohio and used an x-ray machine to reveal 60-pounds of marijuana, 11 pounds of methamphetamine, and a kilo of cocaine concealed in the tires.

Despite sophisticated attempts to hide drugs coming across the southwest border, OSHP said so far this year the spike in some drug seizures on Ohio's roads is staggering.

Year to date, the number of methamphetamine seizures in Ohio has skyrocketed more than 900 percent compared to the same time last year.

OSHP said the vast majority of seizures involved highly pure, crystal meth manufactured in Mexico. Heroin seizures are up 155 percent from last year.

The highway patrol said new prescription drug laws are making it tougher for traffickers to move pills. Year to date, seizures of prescription opiate pills are down 66 percent.

OHP said every seizure means dangerous, illegal drugs won't make it to their final destination, and said that has a positive impact on every Central Ohio neighborhood.

Law enforcement is sharing information on a national database describing where and how officers found hidden compartments in different makes and models of vehicles hoping to learn from each other's drug seizure success stories.