FOND DU LAC — Interstate-41 is bringing more to Fond du Lac County than just traffic. According to local law enforcement, this is also a huge source of crime for the area.
The 176-mile-long interstate connects northeast Wisconsin with the metropolitan areas of Chicago and Milwaukee.
“Drugs, which spill out of Milwaukee and across Wisconsin through interstate 41, makes that an easy corridor for people to come up and down through the Fox Valley," District Attorney Eric Toney said. "With Fond du Lac being directly on Interstate 41, it becomes an easy place for people to be moving drugs throughout the state.”
In the past month and a half, the Fond du Lac Sheriff's Office collected about half a dozen "substantial seizures," said Captin Bill Tadych.
- 18 pounds of illegal drugs, more than $21,000, loaded gun seized from interstate trafficker
- Three Fond du Lac men arrested after traffic stop reveals marijuana and guns, authorities say
Tadych said they often find these drug traffickers through tips from citizens, or from the county's drug task force. They then look for reasons to stop the vehicle. Once the officer stops the vehicle for a traffic violation, they look for signals that the car might be smuggling illegal substances.
"Do they see something in plain view? Do they smell something? Does the individual act very nervous on the stop? Is there a prior history with that?" Tadych said. "Those are things our guys look for to try to make a case to get probable cause to make an arrest for these drug violations.”
And Toney said the amount of drugs is increasing amid the ongoing opioid epidemic.
“That's been something we've been seeing here in Fond du Lac County and in many other parts of the state," Toney said. "The sheer quantity of drugs in particular seizures appears to be going up and the street value of that obviously goes up along with it.”
Tadych said if citizens are concerned about a specific incident on the I-41 corridor, to contact local law enforcement.