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Semi load stalled for drug investigation released

WORTHINGTON -- A truck driver stopped for a day on suspicion of hauling illegal narcotics in a tractor/trailer was sent on his way after analysis of a powdery substance in his load tested negative for drugs.

According to Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) Capt. Brian West, the semi pulled into the Worthington weight station Tuesday afternoon, and when the circumstances seemed suspicious, authorities called in a K-9 unit for a narcotics sniff.

The stop initially was part of the state's commercial vehicles division, but West said patrol troopers got involved during the process of trying to identify the substance.

Semi trucks are mandated to stop at open weigh stations, where equipment and logs are checked as well. West said commercial vehicles employees also look for anything that might seem unusual with a carrier.

The drivers load consisted of individual containers of a substance similar to powdered cement, West said, and the K-9 alerted in the vicinity of the load.

The trailer and contents were then secured at the Worthington Department of Transportation (DOT) site as part of the investigation until it was determined the following afternoon that the analysis results had come back negative.

"Until we get that analysis done, it's hard to determine what you're actually dealing with," West explained. "People use a multitude of methods to transport illegal substances. We know that drugs are moved throughout the U.S., so our people are trained to investigate."

In this case, he added, things appeared to warrant further evaluation, but the substance was not illegal so the load was allowed to move on its way. The commercial personnel and troopers did what they were trained to do, West said.