McGrath: Highway Patrol Honored for Drug Interdiction Work
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said today that the Montana Highway Patrol was honored this week for its work as part of the Rocky Mountain Highway Patrol Network (RMHPN). The network received an award for “outstanding interdiction effort” at the national meeting of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in New Orleans.
Capt. Kenton Hickethier represented the MHP. The Montana Highway Patrol has been part of the RMHPN since 2005, and the network also includes the Utah Highway Patrol, Colorado State Patrol and Wyoming Highway Patrol.
“I’ve said more than once that drugs don’t recognize borders between states,” McGrath said. “The coordinated interdiction work has broken down the fences between agencies and helps disrupt trafficking across the country. This program helps keep these drugs from ever reaching our communities.”
During calendar year 2006, the RMHPN seized:
- 7,600 pounds of marijuana
- 754 pounds of cocaine
- 200 pounds of methamphetamine
- 5 pounds of tar heroin
- 17 pounds of ecstasy
- $1.7 million of U.S. currency
- $900,000 worth of stolen property
- 18 submachine guns and 11 handguns/rifles/shotguns
There were 501 felony arrests and 145 seized vehicles, including 43 with false, hidden compartments.
“One of the goals of the network is to tie individual seizures to ongoing investigations,” said MHP Col. Paul Grimstad. “Evidence seized in the states can assist organizations and agencies working to stop drug trafficking around the region and the nation.”
Grimstad said after each seizure, officers in the network report to an investigative support center. From there, an analyst notifies enforcement agencies in the city where the drugs originated and in the city to which they were headed. Information is shared with other state and federal agencies in hopes of tying a courier and a drug shipment to any investigation around the nation. The RMHPN also creates a weekly bulletin that is available to highway patrol officers and drug task force members and is distributed nationwide and in Canada.