As part of Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s AID Montana Initiative, Montana Highway Patrol drug interdiction teams have seized 56 pounds of methamphetamine in just six months of operation.

MHP Criminal Interdiction and Canine Commander Lieutenant Jim Sanderson said there are six interdiction teams on the road throughout Montana.

“They are located geographically with three in the eastern part of the state three in the west,” Sanderson began. “The Montana Department of Criminal Investigation has one team member on the eastern side of the state, and they’re currently assigning another team member for the west. The teams are so successful that they’re literally running out of places to store all the drugs that are being seized. Statistically, it’s pretty impressive. In the last six months the team members have seized over 56 pounds of methamphetamine. The entire Montana Highway Patrol in the year 2017 seized 68.06 pounds of meth , so the criminal interdiction teams seized the majority of the drugs. When you look at previous years, it becomes even more significant. In 2016 we seized six and a half pounds of meth and in 2015 a little over nine pounds and in 2014 it was 18 pounds.”

Sanderson said the canine officers are able to detect the odor of drugs wherever they may be hidden inside a suspect vehicle.

“The canines are very helpful, because the suspects are extremely creative,” he said. “They will spend thousands and thousands of dollars building secret compartments inside the vehicles that without a whole bunch of training and experience it’s really hard to locate that, and the nice thing about the canines is they’re only looking for the odor of drugs and it can really narrow our search of the suspect’s vehicle.”

Sanderson said the hope is that the more drugs the interdiction teams can seize, the more expensive the drugs will become, thus decreasing the demand.