A deputy’s knack for sussing out mules has made a lonely stretch of I-70 the top drug-bust site in Colorado
A patch of asphalt interrupts the median of Interstate 70 on an empty stretch of scrubby desert 10 miles east of the Utah border. It is a perfect spot for watching vehicles blow through on commutes, vacations, recreational outings, commercial load-hauling trips. And drug smuggling missions.
For more than two decades, Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Miller has been parking on this bit of asphalt to intercept drugs on a major artery for moving contraband that most often originates with cartels in Mexico.
Miller has become a legend for pulling more drugs off the interstate at this west-of-Grand Junction outpost than at any other interstate interdiction point in Colorado. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that he is responsible for more than 1,000 seizures that have yielded more than 20 tons of drugs over the years.
To do this job, Miller spends long hours sitting in a Tahoe pickup with a batman sticker on the front and a drug-sniffing German shepherd named C.J. in the back. From this vantage point, Miller can eagle eye the interstate parade – the Jesus-Is-My-Co-pilot-stickered minivans, the magnesium-chloride-encrusted sedans, the loaded semis, the fancy black SUVs with tinted windows, the four-wheel-drives bristling with skis and bikes.
He is not just watching them. He is, in his words, “reading” them.
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