BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Two men from California are behind bars in South Dakota following a drug bust in Brookings involving more than 30 pounds of meth and fentanyl.
Brookings police responded to a complaint about a vehicle headed north on I-29 on Sunday morning, just south of town. Police caught up with it at a gas station and say a drug dog discovered meth and fentanyl inside.
After searching the car, police say they found 32 pounds of suspected meth and fentanyl with a street value of around $150,000.
Police arrested 55-year-old Jose Gonzalez and 28-year-old Marquez Gonzalez of California on numerous drug charges.
“That’s a considerable large amount for what we’ve seen around here. The number of stops we’re seeing with meth is becoming more frequent, but that’s one of the larger ones that we’ve had,” Brookings Police spokesperson Jorrie Hart said.
Hart says the meth problem has gotten worse, and officers are working hard to get it off the streets.
“We do remain a very safe city and that’s part in to the proactivity of a lot of our officers that work in the area. Just making regular routine traffic stops and addressing violations as we see them,” she said.
Brookings County State’s Attorney Dan Nelson says he’s also been dealing with more meth cases lately.
“There’s more and more meth in South Dakota, and why is that? Well, I think it’s because we have an open border. And I think it’s more easily coming across the border, and as a result, it’s impacting our local communities at a much larger scale,” he said.
Nelson says they employ a two-part approach when it comes to drug enforcement including prosecution and providing services for people dealing with addiction.
“We have to work very diligently to make sure we’re cracking down on those that are bringing it into our community, but making sure that we as a community are offering the resources necessary for people that suffer from methamphetamine addiction, and I think that’s the challenge that we all face here locally,” he said.
Since the suspects are accused of bringing the drugs across state lines, this case is expected to be handled in federal court.
In addition to the drugs, officers also found $5,100 of cash in the vehicle.