Ohio May Ban Secret Compartments in Cars
To curtail drug smuggling, an Ohio Senator wants jail time for drivers with secret compartments (even if they're empty).
Ohio Senator Jim Hughes is proposing a state law that would crack down on drug smuggling by making it a fourth-degree felony to own a vehicle with secret compartments—a first for any state in the US. The law would only affect car owners who have hidden compartments which were added after the vehicles were purchased. Even if the compartments aren't filled with drugs, merely owning them would lead to as much as 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. "Many of the drugs are coming in from Mexico and some of the high-end, high-expense pills, like ecstasy, are coming in from Canada," says Patrol Colonel John T. Born. "Ohio is an absolute critical distribution point, both for our highway systems because of their location east and west and our major metropolitan areas.” Ohio Governor John Kasich confirmed last week that he supports the legislation. Ohio state troopers arrested 6,000 people on drug-related charges in 2011, a 9% rise on the previous year, and are on track to pass that number in 2012. The Ohio state Highway Patrol found $69.5 million worth of illegal drugs during traffic stops last year.