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DEA demonstrates how local law enforcement dogs sniff out hidden drugs

DEA demonstrates how local law enforcement dogs sniff out hidden drugs. (WWMT/Alexis Berdine).
DEA demonstrates how local law enforcement dogs sniff out hidden drugs. (WWMT/Alexis Berdine).
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The Drug Enforcement Administration Detroit Field Division hosted a canine narcotics detection demonstration and task force officer overview event on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

Stephen VerDow, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA Grand Rapids Division Office and a local task force officer, discussed how the DEA works with local partner agencies to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

VerDow said drug cartels run like corporations across the country, including West Michigan, in vehicles like a white SUV they had parked.

"Just like any other business, they have transportation hubs," Verdow said. "They're gonna bring up courier vehicles with hidden traps, even involve hydraulics. Things that would be difficult for us without the assistance of a canine to be able to detect."

From the moment K-9 Nala jumped out of her crate and into the line of duty she gave new meaning to the phrase "man's best friend" and immediately sensed the drugs in the SUV.

Nala practically ripped open the door to show her handler that she had detected illegal substances.

Finding drugs to Nala has the same feeling of reward as finding a dog treat.

Nala has been living with her Kent County Sheriff deputy handler since she was imported from Poland.

Her handler said she is the best partner she could have ever asked for and Nala has gone into dangerous situations that some humans can't. She said Nala is fearless.

She said the Kent County Sheriff's Office has been getting more dogs like Nala because they prove their worth when it comes to being effective at their jobs.

She said she expects the trend to continue across other law enforcement organizations.

VerDow said the DEA has been stressing its commitment to working with local law enforcement partners.

The agency has also been working toward increasing its footprint on the national level by going after illegal drug organizations and addressing the drug overdose crisis on the state and local level.

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