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Arizona Department of Public Safety Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Initiative Results in the seizure of 49.9 pounds of Cocaine and 290 pounds of Marijuana -all part of Operation "Cochise Stronghold"

759 Commercial Vehicle Inspections as part of Operation Cochise Stronghold

Friday, February 11, 2011 -

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Operation “Cochise Stronghold” was conducted February 8 and 9, 2011, on Interstate 10 from the Pima/Cochise County line to the Arizona/New Mexico Border. Operation “Cochise Stronghold” is a state safety crash-reduction initiative, highlighting compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and state criminal and traffic laws.

This was a collaborative effort between the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The operation involved 77 Department of Public Safety officers, ADOT inspectors, and USDOT inspectors. Stationary checkpoints and roving commercial vehicle enforcement and a Share the Road outreach program were conducted.

Representatives from the Arizona Trucking Association and DPS officers, as part of the Share the Road program, set up public information booths at the Gas City in Benson and the Texas Canyon rest area, east of Benson, providing commercial motor vehicle drivers, as well as the general public, educational materials and answering questions concerning various motor carrier safety issues including “No Zone” training, concerning the dangers of driving in blind spots and too close to commercial vehicles, seatbelt usage, the move over law, and log book and equipment related issues. Over 200 hundred commercial and non-commercial drivers benefited from these efforts.

Operation “Cochise Stronghold” resulted in 759 commercial vehicle inspections including inspections of commercial vehicles transporting hazardous materials. A total of 80 drivers were placed out of service including 13 drivers who were either driving with suspended licenses and or otherwise disqualified from operation of commercial vehicles. 73 commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for equipment violations, which included brake, lamp, steering, suspension, tire, wheel, and safe loading violations.

The Share the Road program also includes an enforcement component which focused on drivers of both passenger vehicles and trucks that are driving aggressively or committing hazardous moving violations. 49 such traffic stops were conducted on drivers of passenger cars, primarily for violations involving speeding, improper lane change and following too close.

The DPS Interdiction unit also participated in the operation and seized three narcotic loads being transported on Arizona highways. One narcotic load contained 49.9 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $391,000. Two additional marijuana seizures were made by interdiction officers totaling 290 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $152,250.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.