PHOENIX – While their primary duty is manning ports of entry to make sure that commercial vehicles operate safely and legally on highways, officers with the Arizona Department of Transportation Enforcement and Compliance Division coordinate with local authorities when they come across criminal activity.
Case in point: two marijuana seizures this year from vehicles passing through the Topock Port of Entry, on Interstate 40 near the California line.
In February, an ADOT officer conducting a routine safety inspection on a car-hauler found that it was 3,000 pounds overweight. After directing the driver to park to address the violation, further inspection and other indicators prompted the officer to call for assistance from the Fort Mojave Tribal Police Department’s drug-sniffing K-9 unit. Officers found 83 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of $373,500, in one of the vehicles.
Two weeks later, the same officer noticed red flags suggesting contraband when conducting a routine inspection of a pickup truck hauling a trailer with four cars. Once again calling in the Fort Mojave Tribal Police Department’s K-9 unit, officers seized 73 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $328,500.
“While we have our own mission of protecting Arizona’s infrastructure through enforcing trucking laws and stopping fraud related to vehicle titles and Arizona IDs, we gladly use our resources to aid others in Arizona’s law enforcement community when the opportunity arises,” said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division.
ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division will also aid other law enforcement agencies by helping to identify vehicles involved in crimes and using its facial recognition system to identify suspects and victims in other cases.