It has been a busy year for the Mono County Narcotics Enforcement Team’s drug-finding K9 Tara.
The 5-year old Belgian Malinois has found 133 ounces of narcotics during 49 vehicle searches, a dozen building searches and a dozen school sniffs.
“Tara is trained to detect the odor of narcotics, specifically marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and their derivatives,” according to Mono County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jennifer Hansen. “She is trained to alert to the presence of narcotic odor. Her alert consists of a noticeable change in behavior with a final response of barking, biting, or scratching at the location of the odor. Her alerts vary depending on the location of the odor. She is trained on odor strength varying from residual narcotic odors to the odor of pounds of narcotics.”
Mono County has credited Tara with finding narcotics in places that her human partners could miss.
“Tara has been instrumental in helping locate well-hidden narcotics, in both vehicles and buildings (such as homes), that her human counterpart would miss,” Hansen said. “In Mono County, especially along the Highway 395 corridor, more and more drug dealers and traffickers are bringing narcotics into and through our communities. Tara helps find hidden narcotics in cars and other places that most people wouldn’t even think would be a hiding place for narcotics. With her keen detection skills, she can assist local law enforcement in conducting interdictory traffic stops on narcotics dealers and traffickers and hopefully recover the narcotics before they even enter our communities.”
The Mono County Narcotics Enforcement Team is an inter-agency task force with agents representing the Mono County Sheriff’s Office and the Mono County District Attorney’s Office.