Deputies: Drug smugglers using less-traveled Lincoln County highway

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 5 at 7:34 AM

(KMOV.com) — Tuesday night News 4 learned drug runners are using the less-traveled Missouri highways to move narcotics through our area up to the Chicago area.

Without being too flippant about it, shutting down the drug trade is kind of like whack-a-mole.

Shut down drug traffic in one area, it pops up in another.

Elsberry police are hooking up with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in a joint effort to slow down the flow of what’s coming through Lincoln County. 

Michael Patton’s had a business along Highway 79 in Elsberry for more than fifty years.

He says he’s not surprised to hear the drug trafficking is increasing along this stretch of highway.

“It’s not policed as much. Simple.” he said. “Police can’t be every place all the time.”

79  runs along the eastern edge of Lincoln County.

The Missouri Highway Patrol keeps a close eye on nearby Highway 61, so drug runners are turning to the less-traveled roadway

“These drug traffickers are wanting to stay off major interstates because of the big push between the Highway Patrol and other interdiction task forces. DEA for instance,” said Elsberry Police Chief Robert Bodley.

Last summer there was a drug seizure of 54 pounds ob marijuana on 79.

“Mostly marijuana but we have seen heroin,” said Bodley. “A big influx of heroin here recently and methamphetamine as well.”

As part of the task force, Elsberry officers will now have jurisdiction over the entire stretch of 79 through Lincoln County for suspected drug stops. That gives them a range of a good 20 miles instead of just the roughly three miles that 79 goes through Elsberry.

“You don’t want to stop every vehicle with out-of-state plates,” Bodley said. “You want to make good stops and giving us a little more leeway is going to help us out a whole lot.”

The chief says this will not affect the city’s budget or lessen patrols within the city.

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