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Highway Patrol Seizes 30 Percent More Meth On Utah Roads This Year

Whittney Evans
A Utah Highway Patrol officer demostrates how K-9's are used to seize narcotics from vehicles.

Utah Highway Patrol officers have seen an increase in methamphetamine coming through the state. Seizures of the drug are up 30 percent over the last six months.

UHP officials say the increase in meth busts so far this year is due in large part to affordability. Meth is cheap right now at the U.S., Mexico border. And UHP Sgt. Steve Salas adds, it’s also more profitable the further east it’s transported. 

“Someone who has a connection with a methamphetamine organization could purchase meth for $1500 a pound. Bringing that methamphetamine into Utah, you could sell that methamphetamine for up to $3500. The further you go into the Midwest and the east coast, that’s probably going to triple maybe even go up to $8000 a pound,” Salas says.

So, he says much of what’s being brought into Utah is headed east and doesn’t stay here.  

“We’re just geographically located where we’re seizing a lot of the meth that’s going to the east coast. So, our plan is just to continue doing what we’re doing. Traffic enforcement. Recognize the indicators of criminal behavior. We’re going to pursue those legally. We’re going to deploy our dogs when we get the chance and if we can seize it we’re going to,” Salas says.

In addition to the 316 pounds of methamphetamine UHP seized between January and June of this year, they also took in 1,643 pounds of marijuana, six pounds of heroin, 15 pounds of cocaine and 12 guns. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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