JEROME, Idaho — A drug dog pilot program started two years by Idaho State Police has been so successful that three new dogs will join the force in March.
KTVB-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1dMjLmX) that three troopers and their dogs are training in Utah.
"I can't wait for them to certify," said Senior Trooper Steve Otto, who teams with Bingo to form the only K-9 unit the Idaho State Police currently have. "It is a high demand tool that we use."
Otto said Bingo is trained to find any type of drug and can even find where drugs used to be in a vehicle.
State and federal authorities say the amount of drugs entering Idaho in the last several years has increased. Idaho State Police say the amount of marijuana seized has tripled over five years. And methamphetamine prosecutions have gone up, said U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson.
"Over the last three years, there have been, into the first month of this year, close to 300 defendants sentenced in federal court on methamphetamine trafficking charges alone," Olson said. "Methamphetamine, in particular, destroys lives. It creates all sorts of problems for families."
She said meth trafficking is up partly because new laws make it tougher to cook meth at home.
"What's replaced that is methamphetamine trafficking from Mexico," she said. "A lot of that is tied eventually to drug cartels."
Otto said that marijuana trafficking also appears to have increased, possibly because neighboring states have relaxed marijuana laws. He said marijuana in Idaho can bring higher prices.
In January, a traffic stop on Interstate 15 by Blackfoot Police Cpl. Chad Braswell and his K-9 partner, Moxie, found 153.2 pounds of marijuana hidden in a 2014 Chrysler 300. That was one of the largest seizures of marijuana in Bingham County history.
Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/