Trucks halted in state for drug sniff-out Dogs assist in state, federal crackdown.

March 18, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

State Police last night began a 12-hour sweep of Maryland looking for truckers transporting illegal drugs or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

More than 200 State Police and agents from the U.S. Department of Transportation participated in the crackdown, dubbed Operation Nite Sniff" because of the approximately 20 drug-sniffing dogs that took part in it. Agents started the operation at 7 p.m.

As part of the operation, members of the Toll Facilities Police monitored truck traffic at the Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels and at toll bridges, such as the Francis Scott Key Bridge at the Outer Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Enforcement occurred in all 23 counties and the city, primarily at truck weighing stations, which are normally closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

"Our focus is drugs, but we will take action on any other contraband we spot," said Capt. Ray D. Cotton, commander of the State Police Vehicle Enforcement Division.

Captain Cotton said the drug enforcement was conducted during evening and early morning hours when truckers might ordinarily find the weighing stations closed.

"If someone is going to move drugs, that's when you might expect them to do it," the captain said.

"We hope we don't find any drugs or contraband. But we aren't naive to think it's not going on," Captain Cotton added.

Police also patrolled truck stops looking for drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.

On Nov. 7, State Police said, they conducted a similar eight-hour enforcement effort that resulted in two drug arrests, numerous drunken driving citations and scores of safety violations found on more than 1,000 trucks.

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