Drugs and cash seized on I-40 increase after Fall Harvest

The amount of drugs and cash being confiscated following a traffic stop tends to rise after Fall Harvest (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A problem in the Texas Panhandle that Law Enforcement agencies deal with every day of the year 24/7 is the amount of narcotics and money traveling through. A recent trend is showing larger amounts of drugs and cash being seized by authorities following spring and fall harvest in Colorado and other western states.

“We’re looking for what’s coming through and were looking for the problems that it brings,” said Loren Brand, the Carson County Sheriff.

Brand tells ABC 7 News more women are being used as drivers of vehicles to transport drugs and cash.

“We’re running into more situations now with females hauling drugs and sometimes having children with them,” said Brand. “We have bad people coming through and were trying to protect our citizens.”

Some law enforcement agencies in the Texas Panhandle are now following a new procedure of not opening every single package and instead are sending them off to laboratories to be opened and inspected.

“We have strong concerns for processing drugs,” said Brand. “We don’t like to be in contact where they’re going to be harmed in any way by the drugs being checked.”

Sgt. Cindy Barkley with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) tells ABC 7 News the bust involving large volume of drugs can be credited to enhanced training. Troopers keep a watchful eye out for vehicles that look suspicious.

“Interstate 40 has always been a major drug pipeline throughout our nation as it runs all the way from California to North Carolina,” said Barkley. “The troopers use interview techniques that they’ve learned and experienced throughout the year to be able to detect drugs and apprehend those dangerous criminals.”

“I just know there’s a lot of stuff not making it towards where it’s intended to be sent,” said Brand. “That’s what it’s all about.”

In the last year alone from March through December 21, seizures of drugs by Texas DPS in Carson County at or near Conway totaled more than $16 million in estimated street value. Along I-40 near Groom, Texas, DPS seized more than $3.4 million of drugs in estimated street value. The majority of the drugs being seized are pot, meth and heroin.

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