We all know that the Ohio Highway Patrol protects citizens against speeders, reckless operators and drunk/impaired drivers.
Another protection that our troopers provide but is often overlooked is that of drug enforcement.
And thanks to a tip line introduced earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich that enforcement is, at times, being utilized by you - a citizen of Ohio.
A big example arose just this past Wednesday. According to an Ohio Highway Patrol statement, a man from Canada is facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 32 kilos of cocaine, worth an estimated $2.8 million, after receiving an anonymous tip from a caller on the Patrol's #677 tip line.?It is the biggest success so far for the tip line.
Troopers received a call from an individual reporting suspicious activity along the Interstate 70 corridor involving a commercial tractor trailer. Troopers responded to the area and observed the white 2003 Freightliner on Interstate 70 eastbound. The commercial vehicle was stopped for a marked lanes violation at 2 a.m. Criminal indicators were observed and a Springfield Police Department drug-sniffing canine was called to the scene to assist. The canine alerted to the vehicle and a probable cause search revealed the 32 kilos of cocaine in the sleeper area of the tractor trailer.
The driver, Suhksimrat Sing Pawar, 30, of Cambridge, Ontario, was incarcerated in the Clark County Jail and charged with possession of cocaine and trafficking in cocaine, both first-degree felonies.
If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and up to a $40,000 fine.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne R. Ralston said the #677 hot line received 12,710 calls from March through May this year. The new line piggy-backed on the previous number, 1-877-7-PATROL, before March.
The number of calls rose to 4,704 in May compared with 4,160 in March, an increase of about 13 percent. More than 70 percent of the calls come from mobile devices, the patrol said.
Actually using the tip line is one of the few circumstances when a driver should be using a cell phone, outside of emergencies. The arrest earlier this week was an instance of a citizen helping to keep a mess of drugs off of our streets and in many cases out of the hands of our young. The battle against drug trafficking, including on our highways is ceaseless. The tip line is another useful weapon we now have.