Montana Highway Patrol fentanyl seizures in 2022 already surpass 2021 total
Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) troopers interdicted large amounts of illegal drugs in 2021, and in the case of the dangerous opioid fentanyl, they’ve already blown past last year’s quantity in 2022, Colonel Steve Lavin announced today.
Troopers found nearly 3,800 fentanyl tablets in 2021, while fentanyl arrests were up 1600% from 2020 to 2021 – from one to 17. From 2018 to 2020, the MHP criminal interdiction team made only two fentanyl interdictions, showing how fast this threat has emerged. Through March 15 of this year, Montana Highway Patrol troopers have already seized 12,079 fentanyl pills – more than three times the total for all of 2021.
The quantity of methamphetamine interdicted this year is also on track to surpass 2021. While seizing 49.1 pounds of the drug, troopers made 163 felony arrests for methamphetamine last year, an increase of 20 percent over 2020. Through just the first ten weeks of this year, troopers had already taken two-thirds of that total – 33.3 pounds – off Montana roadways.
“Drug interdiction is a focus of the Montana Highway Patrol, and it is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our troopers to take this amount of illegal drugs off of the roads and disrupt the supply chain in Montana,” Colonel Lavin said. “Our troopers work tirelessly each and every day to make Montana safe and I am proud of their efforts.”
“Montana communities are safer thanks to the Highway Patrol’s efforts and coordination with other law enforcement agencies to interdict drugs,” Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. “Unfortunately, we’ll keep seeing large amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other dangerous drugs coming into our state until the southern border is secured.”
In 2021, troopers also interdicted 2.0 pounds of heroin resulting in 19 felony arrests and 4.5 pounds of cocaine resulting in six felony arrests.
To aid their narcotics interdiction efforts following the legalization of recreational cannabis, MHP is replacing two drug detecting K9s with the help of a grant program that Attorney General Knudsen spearheaded.
One of those dogs, Hary, is already on the job. CLICK HERE to see him in action.