Big Sky Roundup

Amount of fentanyl seized in 2022 surpasses 2021 total

By: - April 7, 2022 5:53 pm

Montana Highway Patrol building (Photo by Eric Seidle for the Daily Montanan).

The amount of fentanyl seized by the Montana Highway Patrol just months into 2022 has already surpassed the 2021 total, MHP Colonel Steve Lavin said in a Thursday press release.

According to the release, troopers confiscated 12,079 fentanyl pills through March 15, 2022, compared to just 3,800 in 2021. Arrests are also rising. Between 2018 and 2020 troopers only made two fentanyl-related arrests, compared to 17 in 2021.

“Drug interdiction is a focus of the Montana Highway Patrol, and it is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our troopers to take this amount of illegal drugs off of the roads and disrupt the supply chain in Montana,” Lavin said in the press release. “Our troopers work tirelessly each and every day to make Montana safe and I am proud of their efforts.”

The amount of methamphetamine intercepted this year is also on track to surpass 2021 levels, according to the release. MHP confiscated 49.1 pounds of meth and made 163 felony arrests for methamphetamine in 2021 — an increase of more than 20% from 2020. And through the first 10 weeks of this year, troopers had already confiscated 33.3 pounds of the drug, according to the release.

And in 2021, MHP said in the release it confiscated 2 pounds of heroin resulting in 19 felony arrests and 4.5 pounds of cocaine resulting in six felony arrests, but did not provide comparable numbers for 2022.

In the release, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen thanked MHP for its efforts.

“Montana communities are safer thanks to the Highway Patrol’s efforts and coordination with other law enforcement agencies to interdict drugs,” he said.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.