K-9’s ready to patrol new highways in search of drug traffickers

(WISH Photo)

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The Morgan County Drug Task Force is beefing up its resources in preparation for the I-69 expansion, and there are three officers in particular who are chomping at the bit to get to work.

A trio of police dogs is already out on patrol. They’ve been tracking down suspects and searching for drugs. But they’re embarking on some new territory to make sure criminals aren’t passing through their turf.

It’s time to go work for Deputy Mark Wilson and his partner Citar, an 11-month-old Czech Shepard mix. The duo practiced searching for drugs planted on a car by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. Within seconds, Citar found the bag of marijuana hidden in a wheel.

“Absolutely wonderful; good officers,” said Joe Mills, director of the Morgan County Substance Abuse Council (MCSAC).

He said “officers” because he’s talking about about Citar; Lega, the 2-year-old German Shepard and Daino, the 2-year-old Czech. Two of the three police dogs were purchased thanks to donations by the MCSAC.

“All three of the dogs’ roles, any of the dogs in the county, their roles are vital,” said Wilson.

The dogs are specifically needed to patrol the state roads weaving through the county with a focus on stopping drug trafficking. With the expansion of I-69 already underway south of Martinsville, the county’s Drug Task Force is prepared to sniff out more crime.

“The traffic is going to increase because it’s directly connected to the northern area to Indianapolis and beyond and then the southern area down through all the way to Mexico virtually,” said Mills.

“There will be a diversity of people that we haven’t seen in this county,” added Wilson.

Deputy Cody St. John demonstrated how Daino could chase down a suspect, but he didn’t diminish the dog’s ability to search for drugs.

“Just having the dogs out there, it increases our chances of locating narcotics, things like that moving up and down the highways,” he said.

It won’t be easy, but when you love your job as much as the four legged officers, you never work a day in your life.

“Their endurance is unbelievable,” said Wilson. “All they want is (their toys) and they want their food and they’re happy.”

The donation for the dogs came last year, but the MCSAC made another contribution this spring that will arm the task force with “scopes for looking into vehicles’ secret places,” Mills explained. “When the dogs indicate that there’s contraband in the vehicle, we’re going to support them now with some tools to get that contraband out.”

This effort is in addition to the new drug tip line 24-Hour News 8 reported on earlier this week. The tip line will allow people to call in anonymously if they spot possible drug activity. The phone number is 765-318-0552.

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