CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Marijuana busts are getting bigger in Utah

May 30, 2018, 7:52 PM | Updated: 8:16 pm

(Photo Credit: DPS from a bust in April 2018)

(Photo Credit: DPS from a bust in April 2018)

SALT LAKE CITY – Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, police and Highway Patrol troopers are dealing with a high number of arrests.

Two of the busiest cross-country freeways cross through Utah, I-80 and I-70.  Department of Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires says drug traffickers take full advantage of that fact.

Squires says, “In 2017, Highway Patrol removed over 41 pounds of heroin, 87 pounds of cocaine, 4,500 pounds of marijuana and 497 pounds of methamphetamine.”

“Utah consistently remains one of the top ten states in our nation that experience the highest levels of drug related overdose deaths,” according to DEA Agent in Charge Brian Besser.

While meth and opioids are the most prevalent drugs in Utah, investigators say marijuana trafficking is on the rise.  Besser says marijuana use can be a controversial topic since nearby states have legalized it for medicinal or recreational use.

“We want to see sick individuals get the medicine that they need.  But, we have to be very, very careful if we’re equating raw plant material to just ‘medicine,’” Besser says.

However, even if marijuana is being grown legally in other states, if too much of it is produced, some of it will be diverted away from its intended use, and it’s frequently sold illegally in Utah.

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Marijuana busts are getting bigger in Utah