MARINETTE & MENOMINEE COUNTIES (WFRV) -Marinette and Menominee counties are both facing a rise in heroin use. That has officers from both sides of the border taking a tough approach to fight drug trafficking into the area.
Both departments, along with 10 other agencies, joined forces Saturday night to try and tackle the growing trend.
"The Marinette-Menominee area has been really plagued by this heroin issue here for several years," said Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve.
In an effort to curb heroin trafficking, 35 officers were out to stop motorists and determine if drugs were present in the vehicles.
"We don't just stop people for the sake of stopping them," Sheriff Sauve explained. "But it could be for an equipment violation. It could be for speeding. But once the vehicle is stopped, not all of them are searched. It depends on what they have to say and what the officers observe."
It was the third drug sweep conducted by the agencies. Officers reported 156 traffic stops, 43 vehicles were searched, 15 citations were issued and 12 people were arrested .
"Obviously, with better roads and communications, it doesn't take long to get from very large metropolitan areas like Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul area to our area," said Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks.
While the stops may be an inconvenience for some, officials say they're part of a bigger picture.
"We want this to stop," added Sheriff Marks. "We want to preserve this area in terms of the safety of our citizens and we have to get very aggressive on this particular issue."
Both departments plan on joining together in the future for similar efforts. They say they're also continuing to work hard on this issue in less visible ways.