The Arizona Department of Transportation is now using K-9 units to help reduce drug and human smuggling at ports of entry into Arizona.
The units conduct inspections on commercial vehicles, and occasionally encounter smuggling of drugs, cash, weapons and people among other criminal activity.
Between December and May, the two K-9 units helped seize over 350 pounds of marijuana, 600 vials of hash oil and $90,000 in illicit bulk currency, ADOT said. They are based at the Interstate 10 Ehrenberg point of entry near California and the Interstate 40 Sanders port of entry near New Mexico.
“This is a matter of highway safety,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Our officers, along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies, find illegal drugs and cases of human smuggling on our highways. Adding K-9’s where we are already screening commercial vehicles makes us a more capable and effective team.”
ADOT says the two K-9s are Belgian Malinois breed and trained to detect illegal drugs and human cargo.
The pilot program to obtain and train both K-9s cost $29,000, according to ADOT.