MERIDIAN -- Idaho State Police say they're seeing a lot more marijuana trafficked through the state than they used to.
"Over the last five years, we've tripled the amount of drug seizures in regards to marijuana," said Lt. Brad Doty.
In the last fiscal year, ISP seized 806 pounds of pot on Interstate 84, Interstate 86 and other Idaho highways. Doty says they are already on pace to soundly beat that number again. Just last weekend, state police in American Falls seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana in three separate busts.
Why the increase? Doty says it has nothing to do with anything that's changed in Idaho, rather within the nearby states. "As those states that surround us lessen their marijuana laws our drug seizures have increased."
Oregon, California, and Nevada have all decriminalized marijuana and legalized medical marijuana. Washington and Colorado have legalized medical and recreational use.
"So basically, the large grows in Idaho will get you a lot of jail time," said Doty. "Large grows in those states where it's not a crime to possess marijuana, won't."
Doty says traffickers often take marijuana from those legal grow sites in those other states and bring it into and through Idaho to the Midwest to sell it. Since it's illegal here there's higher demand and bigger profits, which is why Doty also believes this trafficking trend will only continue. "The seizures are getting larger and larger, some of the largest I've ever seen in my career."
But, Doty says traffickers often aren't just trafficking drugs, they're committing other crimes too. "It can trickle into other aspects of law enforcement. So, whether that's thefts or burglaries or other crimes that are all contributed to or surround drug interdiction or drug enforcement. So, the more marijuana that we can seize off the road, obviously leads to more convictions with other crimes, as well."
Fourteen weapons were seized during drug trafficking busts last year.
Doty also stressed that not all users are traffickers, but reminded everyone that Idaho doesn't issue or recognize medical marijuana cards.
In order to help battle this trafficking, ISP is adding three drug detection dogs next year.