I-80 Drug Stops Lead To Community DebatesBy: Jennifer Curra - March 12, 2014
Thousands of dollars have been confiscated from vehicles traveling on U.S. Interstate 80 where authorities have believed that these travelers could potentially be drug traffickers. Recently, one vehicle contained $50,000 while another vehicle was pulled over with a reported $13,800. This practice has caused debates within the local community of Winnemucca where concerns focus on potentially intimidating visitors from entering the area.
According to Humboldt County Sheriff Ed Kilgore, “What I’m hearing on the street is that we stop you and ask you for your license, registration and your insurance, and how much money do you have? That simply is not how it is ever done.”
Sgt. Chris Aker echoed Sheriff Kilgore’s sentiments and insisted that the practice is not unlawful. “We’re trying to combat crime in our own little way in the war on drugs. We’re not just talking about people driving to buy medical marijuana. These are drug traffickers with guns who may be staying in our hotels,” Aker said.
Local resident Bob Pace vocalized his concerns, and claimed that some residents of the community are concerned that the practice may be tainting the area’s image. “The majority of the community is extra concerned,” said Pace, who is a former teacher.
“You [Sheriff Kilgore] have a huge job and do it well, but the perception is an individual on the road is stopped, and they are not cited. They are not arrested, but their cash or their weapons are confiscated,” Pace explained.
Robert Dolan, who previously served as a public defender for Humboldt County shared the concern expressed by Bob Pace. “It’s a slippery slope of evidentiary standards, but it’s out there. It’s lawful. The deck is stacked against the citizens, and I’m not happy about it. But this system was not invented by Sheriff Kilgore,” Dolan said.
Image Via Wikimedia Commons