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By Steve Birr

Police in Minnesota conducting a routine traffic stop scored a major drug bust after uncovering 18 duffel bags stuffed with nearly $2 million worth of marijuana.

Three men from St. Paul, Minnesota in a Ford truck were arrested March 1 after police pulled them over for an obstructed license plate. A Minnesota State Patrol trooper became suspicious after speaking with the driver while the other two men stood outside the car. The driver said all three flew to California to pick up the truck from in-laws to drive back to Minnesota, but the story and timeline did not match what the other passengers told police, reports Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Police had the truck towed and searched, discovering 18 large duffel bags each containing roughly 25 shrink-wrapped packages of marijuana. The total haul weighed roughly 570 pounds, which police estimate has a street value of $1.75 million. Dante Kendle Vontrail, 22, Michael Dunnorm, 22, and Anthony Williams, 21, all face charges of first-degree drug felony possession with bonds set at $250,000.

Law enforcement in Minnesota is warning residents of a large surge in drug trafficking throughout the state. Drug seizures by the state police are up for nearly every illicit substance.

“The rate at which drugs are being seized around the state should concern every Minnesotan,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman said in a statement Monday. “Law enforcement can’t win this battle alone. We need parents, educators and the peers of those who take drugs to say enough is enough. Together we can save lives.”

Seizures of methamphetamine spiked by 484 percent with authorities confiscating 488 pounds of the substance in 2016. Prescription pills and heroin seizures also spiked by large margins, fueled by the national opioid epidemic.

Despite increasing numbers of states passing legalization laws across the country, authorities say marijuana continues to be the primary drug they find during roadway busts.

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