Laying Down The Law With Cannabis


Managing Editor

KINGSTON Motorists may have noticed the large build up of law enforcement personnel around the Kootenai/Shoshone County line area of Interstate 90 last week. This was due to Idaho State Police conducting a traffic safety and criminal interdiction emphasis, which have become a more frequent occurrence in the Silver Valley in recent years.

On last Wednesday and Thursday, multiple ISP troopers from across the state worked in conjunction with other local agencies to patrol and keep an eye out for speeders in the Kingston construction zone.

We were in the area trying to get people to slow down because we had received a lot of complaints in that area, ISP Captain John Kempf said.

In just two days, the operation recorded a total of 304 traffic stops in the construction zone alone.

Most of these stops resulted only in a friendly warning to slow down or even a traffic citation being issued; but a select few yielded much more.

With the assistance of drug detection K-9s from the Bonner County Sheriffs Office, the Shoshone County Sheriffs Office, and their own agency; ISP was able to make 10 felony drug related arrests and seize a significant amount of illegal substances in their relatively brief time on the road.

Among the list of substances discovered was methamphetamine (the largest single amount being just under an ounce), cocaine (the largest single amount being 20 grams), heroine, LSD, psychedelic mushrooms and copious amounts of marijuana in different forms (the largest single amount being 62 pounds).

One of the three suspects charged with trafficking in marijuana was a 17-year-old juvenile, who was found with 6 pounds.

The last time ISP conducted an operation like this in the Silver Valley was in March 2018 and it yielded close to 500 pounds of marijuana. An ISP trooper and K-9 handler told the News-Press in a previous interview that almost all of the large marijuana busts (such as the 500-pound one) involve an individual or individuals acquiring the product in bulk on the West Coast, then attempting to travel back east to sell it for a profit.

With Idaho neighboring two states to the west that have legalized recreational marijuana, trafficking situations occur frequently. This is why the Silver Valley is a preferred spot to conduct these types of operations because of the geography of the area and the amount of national traffic the interstate sees.

In total, ISP reports the blitz patrol emphasis lead to 14 total felonies and 80 misdemeanors.

It was a great joint agency emphasis patrol and nice to provide a service to the citizens of Shoshone County, Kempf said.

Shoshone County Sheriff Mike Gunderson was also pleased with the results of the operation.

It was another successful collaborative effort with all agencies involved, he said. Its our intention to continue these efforts and build on each emphasis.

Annual emphasis operations like this one occur all over the state as products of the Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative.

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