LUBBOCK,TX - The Texas Department of Public safety broke records in 2016 for the amount of cash and drug cartel they seized during routine traffic stops.
"We seized 3,480 pounds of marijuana, 492 pounds of methamphetamine,157 pounds of cocaine, 108 pounds of heroine, 51 pounds of hashish, and more than 722,000 dollars in U.S. currency," DPS Lieutenant Bryan Witt said.
He added these were all during "regular, routine" traffic stops on the Interstate 40 corridor throughout the year.
"It ended up being over 88 million dollars worth of drugs and cash that was seized by troopers and CID special agents in the I-40 corridor," Lieutenant Witt said.
The DPS describes Interstate 40 as a pipeline, a busy highway for the drug cartel in the Panhandle area, that only increased traction in 2016.
"The amount they seized last year was little over 53 million, that's a little over 30 million more in cash and currency than last year," Lieutenant Witt said. "So yeah I'm a little surprised with those numbers."
He added the types of drugs their officers found are also changing along the corridor.
"It used to be marijuana was the predominate that the cartel would ship across the borders," Lieutenant Witt said. "But now we're seeing a lot more meth that they're making in Mexico and shipping across."
By breaking 2015 records, Lieutenant Witt said this motivates their officers to catch more.
"There's one thing that criminals have in common is that they have to get on the road someday," Lieutenant Witt said. "That's where we want to be is one that road, intercept them and stop them, and make Texas a safer place."