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Pinal County Sheriff's K-9s work to stop drug flow into Arizona

Posted at 10:59 PM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-03 23:32:43-05

Pinal County K-9 units are working hard to stop the flow of drugs into Arizona.

The crews focus their attention on a stretch of I-10 where drugs come up from the border and newly released numbers from 2017 show how many pounds of drugs they've helped to take off the streets. 

Deputy Sheriff Travis Williams hits the road each day with his partner in crime, Troy, a four-year-old Belgium Malinois.

"He's a great dog," said Williams. "Best partner you could ask for."

Every day they are on a mission.

"We look for the drugs, money, weapons, and bad guys," said Williams. 

Pinal County focuses on a stretch of  I-10 between Casa Grande and Picacho. They say it's a hotbed of drugs coming up from the border. 

"There's a lot of routes that the drug smugglers will take to get those drugs up north," said Williams. 

Each shift they pull drivers over for various violations and check for drugs while they're at it.

If enough suspicion is raised at a traffic stop, K-9 Troy runs around the vehicle. 

In 2017, the Pinal County dogs sniffed out about 550 pounds of marijuana, seven pounds of meth, 69 pounds of heroin and 53 pounds of cocaine.

Troy was originally trained in Holland and responds to Dutch commands. It only took three weeks to certify him in narcotics. 

"You can teach a dog an odor in a day, and he will find that odor and respond to that odor," said Williams.

It's a response that's helping get more drugs off the streets, as the dogs are always ready to get to work. 

"The dog is very smart, and if they have the right drives they want to do this job," said Williams. 

Another big part of Pinal County's drug interdiction program is the air unit. 

The air unit has taken an additional 375 pounds of drugs off the streets and arrested 199 people.