MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An attempt to hide a huge stash of meth failed when an experienced police dog sniffed out the illegal drugs.
Officer Pat Murphy and his K-9 partner, Sarik, were searching the outside of a suspected drug house last Friday on Acker Street East when the dog noticed an odor in the flower bed.
“He started making sharp turns, trying to figure out where it was actually coming from,” Murphy said. “It’s very unusual to have something buried like that, so it was harder for him to pinpoint exactly where it was.”
Police found a staggering amount of drugs buried under several inches of dirt. They tested positive for meth.
“There was a plastic garbage bag with a soft-side cooler, and then there was individually-wrapped Tupperware things that were about one-inch deep maybe, 4 or 5 inches long, and then those things were sealed in like a vacuum sealer,” Murphy said.
Officers arrested 40-year-old Raul Mejia-Lopez and 27-year-old Adriana Aguilar Gonzalez. They are now charged with drug possession and intent to sell.
“That’s a very large success. Rarely do I even see that kind of … I’ve been a police officer 21 years. I’ve only seen that amount maybe three or four times,” Murphy said.
Sarik is also a patrol dog, trained to find people or their recent whereabouts based on body scent. He helped a lost child find his way back home last summer.
“The child walking in the bare feet, probably scared, puts off a lot of scent,” Murphy said. “Over the years, and tracking is one of the things we do on a daily basis looking for people. Usually it’s looking for suspects, but it’s often children.”
Sarik, the oldest of St. Paul Police’s 18 specially-trained dogs, will retire this winter. He will live with Officer Murphy as a pet.
K-9s start training when they are about six months old. Murphy says the incentive for the dog to learn all of the essential skills is a toy reward. They work so they can play.
The St. Paul Police Canine Unit recently won a national award for the second year in a row.