Part 3: Authorities search for contraband on Route 19

Local - 5/1/2014 5:37 PM by Karen Franklin
MOUNT HOPE - Authorities know what's out there. Drugs and contraband in cars or commercial trucks pass through West Virginia on their way up north.



"You know that they came right through there, and we weren't able to get them," Lt. Mark Larkin told WOAY. "So that gives us something to look for, something to look forward to. We know it's out there. We're just not doing these things in vain. We know it's out there."

Here's some evidence: In March 1,650 Oxycodone pills and $13,000 in cash resulted in three arrests. Mount Hope Police made another find just last week.

"They come over here thinking they have the small police departments, and they make mistakes," Chief Tom Peal said.

Big drug busts, or any arrest, begin as a routine stop. About one in every 10 turn into criminal investigations.
"It went from speeding to a suspended driver's license, to possession of a controlled substance to pills," Larkin explained.

Trained cops know what to look for. Indicators like defective equipment, improper registration or vehicles in disrepair can raise red flags.

"Certain vehicles you see just don't look right," Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler told WOAY. "You try to watch those vehicles. Sometimes you might see one that's loaded, and they just have a load, and we have come across cars that were squatted. That's a sign that maybe something is in your vehicle."

By law police must have the owner's permission to search a vehicle. They'll need to acquire a search warrant if stopped.

They'd like to stop trafficking of narcotics, guns or things like cigarettes and counterfeit NBA merchandise.
"We're looking for them all," Peal said. "They're all illegal. We're doing what we can to stop it."

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