The fight against highway trafficking
It is no secret that criminal activities take place over the roadways every day, even right here on the Gulf Coast, but law enforcement officers are working hard to make the highways safer.
Interstate 10 runs through South Mississippi and is a hot spot for illegal activity like drug and sex trafficking, but it’s not the only one. Highways across the nation are a means of transportation of illegal activity. Special Agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations, New Orleans Jere Miles said, “The highway system in the United States is basically what moves the lifeblood of criminal enterprises throughout the United States. So, we talk a lot about the main corridors, I-10 and the different highways that you see lots of traffic on, but we see criminal elements using all of the highway systems.”
To help combat this issue, about 220 officers from 12 states were at the I.P. Casino in Biloxi for criminal training. Bryan Cox with Homeland Security Investigations said, “Local law enforcement that is going to encounter those individuals, state law enforcement, federal law enforcement to ensure that all of those law enforcement partners know each other and know their resources and know the various things that are available to them if they do come across a criminal enterprise where to get the resources that they need.”
Lieutenant Dennis Overton from the Arkansas State police says highway trafficking is something his team deals with on a daily basis. “The men and women that are attending this training go beyond a normal traffic stop. They go beyond the stop. They get deeper into the stop then most officers probably would on a regular daily basis. They ask a lot of questions and they just talk to people about their trips and look for indicators for criminal activity that travels on the road daily.”
A common way for drug dealers to smuggle their drugs is to hide them in the wheels of their cars, but as cops catch on to these tricks, drug dealers find new and more creative ways to transport their drugs. “It’s a cat and mouse game, as law enforcement learns about the method that criminals are doing then the criminals will change the method.”
This is one of the reasons it is so important that officers are connected between states.