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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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9/21/2013 3:36:00 PM
County: K9 finds marijuana in ice chests in I-40 stop
Ice chest contraband: The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says deputies found 22 pounds of marijuana in ice chests. Photos courtesy YCSO.
Ice chest contraband: The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says deputies found 22 pounds of marijuana in ice chests. Photos courtesy YCSO.

ASH FORK --Thursday, a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office K9 deputy stopped a gray Ford F-150 truck on eastbound Interstate 40, Ash Fork. Three men were allegedly to be transporting more than 22 pounds of marijuana from California to Oklahoma.

The suspects are Blong Thao, 21, Nao Thao, 25, and Tou Xiong, 23, all from California and charged with transportation of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

After spotting the truck making moving violations, the deputy stopped the F150 and talked to the driver Nao Thao. But, while speaking with the three men, the deputy detected the smell of marijuana inside the vehicle. Nao Thao explained they were heading to Tulsa, Okla., to spend the week with family. But, the officer discovered the Ford had been rented and was due back the following day in conflict with their stated plans. Suspecting contraband, the deputy requested permission to search and was denied.

As a result, a certified K9 narcotics detection dog conducted an exterior sniff of the truck body. At the rear passenger side door seam, the deputy's K9 exhibited several alert signals indicating an odor of narcotics/drug contraband. Based on the alert, a search of the cab revealed a baggie containing marijuana under a rear passenger seat. Checking the truck bed, the deputy located 3 ice chests and a suit case. Under a layer of food and ice in each chest, deputies found several zip-lock baggies containing marijuana. The suit case also contained several baggies of marijuana. There were a total of 21 bags, each weighing about a pound packaged for sale.

All 3 suspects admitted knowledge of the marijuana and its destination to Oklahoma for sales. Deputies also recovered over $1800 from the suspects related to this investigation. The suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center and remain in-custody, each on a $10,000 bond.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Gaia Gurl
Not always. Most search dogs can be trained to more than one target. It depends on the unit's needs. My son-in-law's canine partner specialized in finding people and did explosives on the side.

However, that's beside the point I was making. Search dogs are selected for innate compulsive behavior traits. These are then refocused on desired targets. The dog can find cocaine, for instance, because it needs to find cocaine--not to please its partner or earn rewards. If you teach it to respond to an empty cue, you shift the focus to tricks for treats, which compromises hundreds of hours of very expensive conditioning. Essentially, you're assuming the department would do this just so they could buy another search dog.


Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Police dogs are TRAINED for ONE or the OTHER, bomb dogs are NOT drug dogs. THE dogs can be easily TRAINED to alert on command, specially when there are BIG BUCKS involved for the arresting agency.

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Carl Nye
(for sure)
Of course it's possible, but most K9 trainers and handlers do their darnedest to avoid implanting false signals. It ruins the dog for real searches and that's bad when you're looking for explosives. More probable is a sting operation in California alerting on a couple of dumb dealers.


Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye

From the story:

Suspecting contraband, the deputy requested permission to search and was denied... As a result, a certified K9 narcotics detection dog conducted an exterior sniff... Based on the alert, a search of the cab revealed...

I've often wondered if these drug dogs could be secretly trained to give an alert on some silent signal from their handler. Yep, the dog alerted, now I get to search your vehicle.



Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Great Job!
Keep up the good work!


Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Wow! That is one heck of a K-9!

Alerts on weed sealed in zip-lock baggies stashed in ice chests filled with food sitting on the truck bed in the back. That dog is worth its weight in gold!

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Article comment by: Pretty Stupid

Doesn't everyone realize that ALL DPS vehicles have automatic license plate readers that tell the police if the car is a rental or not!

This is just one more example of how the 'War on Drugs' has corrupted law enforcement. The make up lies about why they pull over cars because they can't just say that you fit the profile. Regardless of what the courts have said, the use of drug detection dogs is unconstitutional. But hey, law enforcement started wiping their butts with that document a long time ago!


Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Article comment by: Why is Yavapai Sheriffs Dept. Patrolling I-I40 with a drug sniffing dog?

I find it odd that the Yavapai Sheriffs patrols I-40 and not the Dept. of Public Service. Is YCSO making $$$ from the DEA for their marijuana busts?



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