SDOT: Searching for drugs, human trafficking at Port of Seattle

SEATTLE -- The City of Seattle’s Department of Transportation is cracking down on container ship truckers to help keep the rest of us safe on the roads.

State and federal agencies spent Thursday morning searching for contraband, including victims of trafficking, that could be hidden in the containers.

Thousands of trucks move goods and products in and out of the Port of Seattle every day and those container boxes end up spread out all across the state.

While police said they can’t search every single container, they do have some tools they believe helps keep them ahead of the criminals.

The exercise was joined by numerous state and federal agencies.

“Homeland Security, Washington State Patrol, the Port of Seattle our other police departments, Seattle Police, we have this effort to watch our roadways,” said Norm Mah with SDOT.

A portable X-ray machine was also used during the search giving Homeland Security a sneak peek inside the containers.

Bomb and drug sniffing dogs also helped to carry out the random inspections.

Plus, a portable scale makes sure containers aren’t unevenly loaded. Roger Bleiler with SDOT said more inspections could have prevented both the fish or crab truck crashes, which months ago blocked traffic on SR 99 for hours.

“If that truck had been overweight and we knew that ahead of time, then we would have taken corrective action,” he said.

Truck drivers found driving vehicles that failed safety checks were either warned or ticketed. If their trucks had significant violations the vehicle was taken off the road, according to Bleiler.