Dalhart, Texas - Drug trafficking is on the rise in the northwestern part of the Texas panhandle, but taxpayers and local law enforcement are reaping the benefits of these busts.
Multiple law enforcement agencies in Dallam and Hartley Counties are working together to make dozens of drug busts each year, as the transport of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines becomes more prevalent in the area.
In the process, several vehicles and thousands of dollars have been confiscated.
They crisscross the northwestern corridor of the Texas panhandle and carry hundreds of vehicles to Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma each day.
But Highways 87, 385 and 54 also carry hundreds of drug traffickers each year.
Dallam County Sheriff Bruce Scott explains, "A lot of them go this way to avoid I-40 because they know there is a lot of enforcement out there."
But there is also a lot of enforcement in Dallam and Hartley Counties, where both sheriff departments, police, and DPS have been forced to step things up.
69th District Attorney David Green says, "We're seeing a lot more drug traffic with marijuana and it's derivatives, since Colorado has legalized possession of marijuana in small amounts."
Meaning local law enforcement is now making multiple drug busts each month, many that lead to asset forfeitures in the form of cars and cash.
Green adds, "Proceeds are divided 30% for the prosecutor's office, and 70% goes to law enforcement."
It's money that provides extra resources to these departments, and saves taxpayer dollars.
Scott says, "We can get specialized training that might not be in the training budget, or we can get specialized equipment that we can't get otherwise."
It's helpful to an area where law enforcement is spread thin.
But the real benefit from drug bust seizures comes in the effort to crackdown on the trafficking and sale of illegal narcotics.