ST. PAUL – The Minnesota State Patrol has made several large marijuana busts in recent weeks, and annual statistics suggest the amount of drugs seized on the state’s roads is on the rise.
A Tuesday, Feb. 13, news release recapped three recent seizures, including one Friday, Feb. 9, in Otter Tail County. In that case, a trooper stopped a vehicle for an obstructed license plate and found 300 pounds of pot.
“In plain sight, the trooper could see bags on the center console and a woman sitting on packaged bags of marijuana,” the release said.
On Jan. 26, about 200 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $600,000 was seized in another Otter Tail County traffic stop. In that situation, the trooper recognized signs of possible criminal activity and sent in a police dog that found the drugs. The driver, an Oregon man, was arrested on a felony first-degree drug possession charge.
On Jan. 24, a trooper stopped a rental vehicle for speeding near Alexandria and became suspicious about unusual behavior and items in the vehicle. A police dog found 24 pounds of marijuana and $8,200.
Last year, the patrol seized 2,642.2 pounds of marijuana, up considerably from 389.5 pounds in 2016. Seizures of methamphetamine also jumped to 160.2 pounds, up from 65.7 pounds, along with increases in seizures of heroin (14.1 pounds last year and 0.49 pounds in 2016) and hashish (9.9 pounds last year and 2 pounds in 2016).
Cocaine seizures decreased from 2016 to 2017, dropping from 35.6 pounds to 17.7 pounds.