Montana Highway Patrol sees increase in meth seizures


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana Highway Patrol has already seized more methamphetamine seven months into 2017 than it did in all of 2016, according to MHP Criminal Interdiction Lt. Jim Sanderson.

Sanderson tells NBC Montana MHP seized 9.27 pounds of meth through the first two quarters of 2017, compared with 6.53 pounds total in 2016.

Sanderson attributes the rise in arrests to a growing meth problem across Montana. He says arrests made on Montana highways have the biggest impact in stopping this problem.

"We feel it's important to interdict the larger levels of drugs, because that's where we hurt the drug trafficking organizations the most," Sanderson said. "We have the most impact for the least amount of input when we can seize drugs on a mid-shipment basis."

Sanderson says MHP made 15 meth arrests in 2012, compared with141 meth arrests in 2016. That's equal to an 840-percent increase over four years.

Sanderson tells NBC Montana MHP hopes to build on this progress by adding six more troopers to its force, making up what's called a criminal interdiction team. The team will focus on stopping crimes like human and drug trafficking. He says drivers can expect to see the troopers on the road in September.

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