If you are a drug trafficker in the U.S, you better hope you do not get searched by Sheriff Mike Lewis of Wicomico County, Md.
“Look for tools in the vehicle that [traffickers] use to take panels apart, that they use to conceal contraband inside. Pay close attention to your nose. You can often times smell cocaine [and] marijuana,” Lewis told WHAG during a special seminar he held in Berkeley County on Tuesday.
“Remember, if it is not in the floor, check the seat cushion. If it’s not in the seat cushion, check the seat backs. If it’s not in the seat backs, check the side walls of the mini van,” Lewis said during the seminar, rattling off all the places officers could check a vehicle for hidden drug compartments.
Lewis was one of the lead officers in a federal case that indicted 44 people for trafficking 9.9 metric tons of cocaine across the United States. Needless to say, Lewis is an expert on finding the hidden car compartments drug traffickers hide their illegal drugs in while transporting.
This is just one of many reasons why police officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers from both West Virginia and Maryland came to listen to him speak in Berkeley County on Tuesday.
“Sheriff Lewis was great,” said Lt. Brendan Hall, with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department. “[Lewis] was basically like, ‘What do you need, and when can we do it?,’” said Hall, “and he agreed to come over and do this training for us.”
Drug interdiction training like this is supposed to help officers recognize drug traffickers.
It will also hopefully help them take drug traffickers out of their driver seat and put them in the back of a police vehicle.
“The guys that work the streets that are in this class, they are exchanging information, and it is great to see,” Hall said.
“I think Berkeley County, West Virginia and the Washington County area of Hagerstown in Maryland, and this whole region,” Lewis said, “is a very target-enriched environment for drug traffickers.
“We have an interstate system which allows these traffickers to travel everyday, to and from large populated cities…into our small communities, to poison our children. We need to do a better job at what we do.”