It's no surprise that drugs are circulating in our community, but did you know that a large percentage of national drug busts happen on a toll road that passes right through Michiana?
We are talking about the Indiana Toll Road, and the most recent bust was just last week.
On Thursday, NewsCenter 16 met up with the Criminal Interdiction Team for the Indiana State Police Toll Road Post. This is the team that's making the stops. They patrol the toll road primarily through the St. Joseph, Elkhart and LaGrange county areas.
In the four years they've been together, they have seized more than two million dollars worth of drugs.
They say the reason the toll road is used is because it’s like a pipeline that runs from the west to the east coast, making it the safest, most direct route for transport.
Here is how the Criminal Interdiction Team works:
It all starts as a routine traffic stop. Once the person is pulled over, the trooper gets out of his car to talk to the driver. After talking for a few minutes, if things turn suspicious, that’s when the K-9, Sabre, comes out.
Trooper Nick Meade, the K-9 handler, says when his K-9 alerts, that is probable cause to search the vehicle.
Officers are finding marijuana, meth, heroin, cocaine, K2, marijuana wax, and krokodil during these busts. They say K2 is reaching epidemic levels, meth is everywhere and marijuana is huge.
For those who don’t know, marijuana wax looks like a yellow sticky wax and is very potent in small amounts, and Krokodil is deadly.
“Krokodil is just poison. It's liquid codeine with gasoline, and it’s injected and causes your skin to die and it will cause lesions that can go down to bone level. It's poison and it kills you. It has a year and a half mortality rate,” explains Trooper Ted Bohner.
The officers say they will know when the deadly drugs reach the area because the users will be in the hospital.
When asked why these guys do this job, their explanation is simple: Each drug bust could prevent a kid from trying a drug for the first time, and if the load doesn't make it to the destination, they may not use it at all.