NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - While state troopers focus on the French Quarter and parade routes this Carnival season, there is another emphasis on stopping drug and sex trafficking along the I-10 corridor headed to New Orleans.
"We've got a long way to go on drugs, and we see it's only gotten worse," State Police Col. Mike Edmondson said.
The season attracts the masses to The Big Easy, but it also attracts those wanting to take the party to another level. In the past week, state troopers made three significant drug busts from vehicles headed down I-10 en route to New Orleans. The effort is part of the state's proactive measure to cut off the drug trade before it gets to the street level.
"Sixty-one pounds of methamphetamine, 15-and-a-half pounds of pure brown tar heroin, and several hundred prescription pills that were destined for the streets of New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We know that," Edmondson said.
"They've had tremendous success here lately, but you only can do that if you have a strong presence and if you have well-trained and alert officers who can make those stops and make those cases necessary in order to take those drugs and those criminals off our streets," Gov. John Bel Edwards said after addressing 170 additional troopers in town for Carnival.
Investigators are also focusing on those involved sex trafficking headed to New Orleans.
"New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette are destination cities when it comes to human trafficking. We know that. We are working operations right now across the state on doing that," Edmondson said.
Since assisting NOPD in March 2015, troopers have seized more than $1.5 million worth of drugs in the French Quarter and responded to more than 6,200 calls, according to Edmondson.