MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Martin County deputies are wrapping up a successful 2-day operation aimed to finding drivers with drugs, seizing the drugs, and arresting the drivers.
It’s the second drug interdiction deputies have done since the county was designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area early this year.
That designation opens up more federal resources for the county to use to decrease the number of drugs coming through the county.
“You’ll have Florida Highway Patrol, US customs, and other federal partners out here assisting.”
Thursday, deputies began stopping drivers for regular offenses, with an emphasis on making sure they also did not have drugs.
Sgt. Josh Kloster explained, "We’ll monitor vehicles for speed, seatbelt violations, expired registrations.” With K9s on hand, they will look for drugs if there is reason to suspect the driver might be in possession of illegal substances.
“Any nervous behavior, inconsistencies with their stories,” Kloster described, in addition to smelling or seeing drugs, gives them cause to bring over the K-9.
WPTV rode along with Kloster on Friday in Indiantown for the final day of the drug interdiction. We watched Kloster stop people for tinted windows, but they were only given warnings.
Others weren’t so lucky. Deputies made more than 40 arrests, and seized various types of illegal, personal use drugs.
“Acid, mushrooms, cocaine, MDMA,” Kloster listed.
The timing of the interdiction was scheduled on the same weekend as the Okeechobee Music Fest.
Many drivers pass through Martin County to get to the festival.
“I’ll say that we have encountered several people who told us they were on their way to the music fest, we’ve also encountered people who have nothing to do with that music fest.”
Kloster said operations like these will happen randomly, and frequently, to keep dangerous drugs away from the county.
“Our efforts will be relentless as far as our pursuit to stop drug trafficking or at least hinder it in Martin County.”