Drug-sniffing dogs in Ohio lead to increase in seizures

Drug-sniffing dogs in Ohio lead to increase in seizures

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio The State Highway Patrol’s use of dogs to sniff out drugs is helping increase drug seizures in Ohio as the patrol works to deter smugglers from moving shipments through the state.

Drug seizures on Ohio highways have increased dramatically from 2012, and the patrol says its specially trained dogs are a big part of the reason for that. The seizures have increased compared with 2012 by 137 percent in methamphetamines, 87 percent in cocaine and 25 percent in heroin, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The number of dogs alerting patrol handlers to the presence of drugs has doubled compared to 10 years ago with 32 now on duty. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has said smugglers are starting to deliberately move drug shipments around rather than through Ohio because of the dogs, according to the newspaper.

“We’re trying to make Ohio unattractive to the business these people bring to our great state,” said Patrol Superintendent Paul Pride.

The dogs are either Dutch shepherds or Belgian Malinois bought from the Netherlands at a cost of up to about $14,000 each, including initial training. Drug-forfeiture money pays the cost.

A patrol sergeant trains each dog to sniff out drugs and explosives and then matches them with one of the trooper handlers responsible for working with the dogs full time.

The dogs more than earn their keep by helping prevent dealers from feeding the state’s drug problem, patrol officials said. Opioids alone were responsible for 1,765 fatal overdoses in Ohio in 2011

One dog sniffed out 52 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $2 million last month. The cocaine was hidden in a false wall in a tractor-trailer stopped for a turn-signal violation on I-70 in Madison County. The trailer was loaded with humidifiers bound for a retail store in New Jersey.

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