Drug-runners criss-crossing Minnesota have been finding their efforts thwarted in recent weeks by the Minnesota State Patrol.
Since Jan. 24, state troopers – aided by their trusty K9 officers – have made three traffic stops that have yielded a total of at least $1.5 million-worth of marijuana.
Here's a closer look at them:
- January 24: Rental vehicle stopped for speeding near Alexandria, troopers observe unusual behavior and K9 officer uncovers 24 pounds of marijuana (worth $72,000-$96,000) and $8,200 in cash.
- January 26: Traffic stop in Otter Tail County yielded a find of 200 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $600,000.
- February 9: Also in Otter Tail County, a woman pulled over for an obstructed license plate led police to 300 pounds of marijuana, worth upward of $900,000, some of which was on the center console
There has been a huge increase in the amount of marijuana being seized on Minnesota roads, with a total of 2,642 pounds discovered by the State Patrol in 2017, compared to just 389.5 pounds the year before.
It comes following a series of high-value drug seizures in North Dakota from vehicles en route to Minnesota.
Police in North Dakota believe that traffickers are opting to travel via northern states to reach the lucrative Chicago and Twin Cities markets, bringing marijuana from Oregon, Washington and California, where it's been decriminalized.
Detection rates were said to be higher on roads further south, but police in both North Dakota and Minnesota are showing they're quickly making the north just as inhospitable to traffickers.