Local News

Authorities Provide 'Seasons Greetings' To Criminals On Interstate 85

Posted December 21, 1999

— Police took to the highways on Wednesday, but they were not targeting speeders. They were trying to take drugs and guns off the streets by setting up a drug checkpoint on Interstate 85.

Six agencies, including the National Guard and the Durham Police Department, took part in Operation Seasons Greetings.

Authorities confiscated eight guns and caught a man wanted on a felony in Washington.

"Basically as soon as the people start to encounter our signs, they start preparing for the worst," said Rodney Buckom, an ALE agent.

Operation Seasons Greetings gave one carload of criminals a big scare.

"They rolled down the passenger side window, and they were throwing firearms out," Buckom said. "They exited on the exit ramp, and we had them stopped. It turned out one of them was wanted for assault with a deadly weapon."

One suspicious move on the road can give officers a reason to search a vehicle.

In one case, they found a small amount of marijuana. Police officers have the technology to wipe the steering wheel of the car and use a computer to detect microscopic traces of anything from marijuana to heroin.

Lt. Ed Sarvis Jr. of the Durham Police Department says Interstate 95 has always been known as the drug pipeline.

"A lot of people try to get off I-95 and possibly use I-85," Sarvis said. "We recognize that and try to focus our drug enforcement efforts on Interstate 85."

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