Eight local law-enforcement agencies racked up 109 arrests on 177 drug-related charges last week during a three-day patrolling operation along U.S. 31 in Howard, Miami and Fulton counties.
Officers utilized marked and unmarked police cars to conduct saturation patrols along the highway during the unannounced patrols dubbed Operation Highway Heat. Patrol officers also used narcotic-detecting police dogs.
Indiana State Police officials said the goal of the operation was to enforce traffic laws and catch individuals who utilize Indiana roadways to transport and distribute illegal narcotics.
During the patrol, officers say they located cocaine, LSD, meth, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, edible marijuana food, marijuana candy, MDMA, THC oil, prescription medications and drug paraphernalia. All of the contraband was found during traffic stops.
Out of all the charges, 17 were classified as felonies. Officers also issued 92 traffic citations and 374 written warnings. There was also two driving while impaired arrests.
The operation was initiated on June 25. Police said U.S. 31 was chosen because a large volume of motorists utilize the road to travel through the heart of northern Indiana.
"Officers wanted to serve notice that as the summer temperatures increase, so will their vigilance in keeping illegal narcotics from reaching Hoosier communities," police said in an ISP release.
This is the ninth straight year state police have organized a summer driving season kickoff patrol, said Indiana State Police Sgt. Dan Prus, who organized and oversaw the patrols.
"Unfortunately we still have people transporting illegal narcotics through Indiana," he said in a release. "Hopefully, these patrols serve as a warning that police officers will utilize all of the resources at their disposal to catch and arrest those who transport, distribute, or use illegal drugs."
Prus said the arrests are also a reminder that because motorists are traveling to a state that has legalized a specific narcotic, it doesn't mean it is legal to transport or possess in Indiana.
The drug blitz has always coincided with the Electric Forest Festival, an annual four-day event near Rothbury, Michigan, that draws tens of thousands from across the country. The festival focuses on electronic and jam-band music.
Agencies which participated in the operation included the Indiana State Police, the Miami County Sheriffs Department, the Peru Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriffs Department, the Cass County Sheriffs Department and the Wabash County Sheriffs Department.