A Minnesota state trooper last week stopped a car on Interstate 94 in Otter Tail County near Fergus Falls and found a passenger sitting on 300 pounds of marijuana.
Last month, also in Otter Tail County, a trooper at a traffic stop confiscated 200 pounds of marijuana, worth about $600,000. Farther west in North Dakota, a sheriff’s deputy also found nearly 500 pounds of pot in a vehicle stopped on I-94 near Jamestown.
Officials in Minnesota and North Dakota say nationally, drugs have become more readily available, leading to the increasing drug traffic they’re seeing on the region’s roads.
“They’re some of the bigger ones that we’ve ever had,” said Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer. “Whether that’s a trend or not, I’m not sure as we sit and talk about this today, but it’s concerning for us that we see that amount of drugs on our highways.”
Drug arrests in North Dakota rose 60 percent from 2012 to 2017 with the same level of enforcement, said North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Michael Roark.
Recent Minnesota State Patrol drug seizures have been marked by large increases of marijuana and methamphetamines in 2017. MPR News graphic
“Most of the larger shipments that we’ve encountered have originated out of North Dakota and certainly destined for locations outside of North Dakota as well, so I think it’s just where we’re at right now nationally in dealing with illegal narcotics,” he said, adding that drugs are generally more available from a variety of sources.
There’s been a dramatic increase in marijuana smuggling in the past few months, said Brian Marquart, who oversees 21 violent crime enforcement teams around the