I-41 traffic stops become important tool to catch drug traffickers

Traffic stops prove to be an important tool against drug trafficking
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 4:15 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s no secret I-41 is a popular route being used to bring drugs to Northeast Wisconsin from places like Chicago and Milwaukee, but once again the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office credits good old police work for getting a large amount of drugs and guns off the street.

Two more traffic stops in Fond du Lac County since Sunday led to additional arrests, more illegal drugs, and a couple of guns.

We first reported earlier this month when the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office confiscated a significant amount of drugs -- including more than 1,000 fake oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl -- during three traffic stops ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend.

It almost sounds like a broken record: A Fond du Lac County deputy stops a car on Interstate 41 for a traffic violation, one of the department’s three K9s is brought to sniff the vehicle and they detect illegal drugs.

That’s what happened on Sunday during a traffic stop near I-41. A K9 indicated drugs in a car. A search of the vehicle turned up nearly 200 counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl, adderall pills, ecstasy, marijuana, $800 in cash and a revolver.

”If one person takes this and thinks it’s a oxycodone pill, it’s laced with fentanyl,” Capt. Bill Tadych of the sheriff’s office said, “and we know the problems we’re having with fentanyl right now -- it can be potential killer for people out there that are unaware and aware.”

Four men in the vehicle, from the Milwaukee and Kenosha areas, were arrested.

Then Tuesday night, a sheriff’s deputy was involved in a chase with a suspect who took off from a traffic stop in Winnebago County. The vehicle crashed shortly after it crossed into Dodge County, but not before the driver was seen throwing a bag out of the window of his car. The sheriff’s office recovered the bag (see video below), and it contained 2,500 counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl as well as a significant amount of cocaine.

They also recovered a loaded handgun from the vehicle. The drugs had an estimated street value of about $80,000 (see related story). The driver, from Racine, was also arrested.

Article continues below the video

Deputies say a Racine man threw a bag with $80,000 worth of drugs out of his car during a pursuit in Fond du Lac County

“We’re getting it from the Green Bay area, Milwaukee area. It’s going through the corridor here, and fortunately we’ve been taking a lot of drugs off the street recently,” said Tadych.

It’s still under investigation, but last night’s seizure of more than 2,000 fake oxycodone pills could be connected to a similar incident late last month where more than a thousand of those pills were confiscated.

Tadych said, “It’s the tip of the iceberg, the [traffic] stop is the start, and then we pass it along to drug investigators and work the drug task force and try to trace these down.”

While Fond du Lac County seems to be catching a lot of these traffickers lately, it knows it’s not the only agency along the corridor catching them, and it’s working with other local, state and federal authorities to track the sources of these drugs to keep them out of our communities.

”Our deputies work in concert with a lot of different agencies, including the drug task force team, and they’re keeping each other informed with what’s going on with the drug trade here, and it leads to a lot of situations where we can have vehicles in the area and take these individuals down,” Tadych said.

For every car the sheriff’s office stops, it knows others may get by. But it’s sending a message that it has the resources to use in its fight against drug trafficking.

Fond du Lac County deputies reported another large drug bust resulting from a traffic stop attempt

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