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State Patrol puts out extra effort for 10,000 Lakes Festival

A Minnesota State Patrol trooper talks with a van driver on Highway 59 south of Detroit Lakes Thursday morning. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Anyone trying to bring drugs into the 10,000 Lakes Festival this week would have had to run a gauntlet of state troopers, including 10 with drug-sniffing K-9 dogs and troopers teamed with commercial vehicle inspectors who were stopping trucks.

Several felony drug arrests were made during traffic stops and have been turned over to the Becker County Attorney's Office for prosecution, said State Patrol Capt. Bruce Hentges.

The State Patrol's 10 drug-detecting K-9 units held their annual training session in the Detroit Lakes area and stayed to patrol the highways prior to the four-day festival, which started Wednesday.

"We had the traffic and the people, so everyone stayed up here and worked the roads," Hentges said. "Our dogs are trained for drug-sniffing only."

Some K-9 units will stay through the festival and some will head home, depending on their schedules, he added.

The State Patrol this week in the Detroit Lakes area has also been pulling over trucks with trailers and other larger vehicles registered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

"Our commercial vehicle section held a truck saturation (operation)," Hentges said.

"They were just checking trucks on Highway 59 for any commercial vehicle violations -- license log books, equipment, driver qualifications. We have troopers working with them," so occupants were also cited for drugs, alcohol or other offenses, Hentges said.

That campaign started Monday and will "probably be wrapping up today," he said Thursday.

The State Patrol also has one or two troopers working traffic control on Highway 59, who are paid via a contract with the 10KLF.

Depending on traffic flow, one or two will be stationed at the Soo Pass entrance at Lake Sallie and Highway 59, or at the County Road 22-Highway 59 intersection, Hentges said.

"Wherever it gets bottled up, they'll move to," he said.

There hasn't been too much traffic backing up at the temporary four-way stop at the Willow Street-Highway 59 intersection.

"So far Willow hasn't been a problem," he said Thursday morning. "Traffic will back up a little (on Highway 59) and then clear up."

Other than that, the State Patrol has no special operations going -- just general patrol because of the extra traffic coming into the area.

"We've had no major crashes with that extra traffic," he said, "which is what we always strive for -- especially when we have the events."