Canine cop coming to Tucumcari

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

A new crime fighter will soon be on the scene in Quay County, according to Tucumcari Police Cpl. Darrick Shaw. However, instead of a nightstick and a badge, this one will probably have a collar and a leash. He will also have four legs.

Yes, the drug dogs are coming to town – or, more accurately, at least one nose-worthy trained canine is being sought to join the force as part of the Dogs against Drugs, Dogs against Crime initiative by the Tucumcari Police Department, Shaw said.

Shaw said the use of dogs in crime fighting for Quay is nothing new, and they are looking for a replacement after the dog they had in service retired a year and a half ago. He said ideal dogs are good natured, like retrievers or Labradors, and the police are looking into several different drug training organizations and facilities from which to purchase the canine crime fighters.

Shaw also said he is hopeful an education program at the county’s schools, followed by a locker search demonstration, will help deter drug use in the county.

“This is much needed,” Shaw said about the canine cops. “They’ll be available to help search houses, cars and schools.”

Statistics for 2000, the most recent available, show New Mexico federal drug seizures amassed 840 pounds of cocaine, nearly 14 pounds of heroin, 69 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 100,000 pounds of marijuana, according to the Web site

Drug dogs have recently sniffed their way to successful arrests in Curry County, officials said, one in which a drug dog alerted officers to search the trunk of a car and a second in which a dog made a beeline for some luggage on a Greyhound bus.

The first incident resulted in a seizure of more than 56 pounds of marijuana from a couple who were pulled over for not wearing their seat belts, police said.

The second occurrence resulted in the confiscation of more than 54 pounds of prepackaged marijuana in two black suitcases heading from Clovis to Kentucky and worth up to $72,000, depending on how it was sold, police said.


Fast drug facts

Of high school seniors in 2001, 8.2 percent reported having ever used cocaine.

From 1997 to 2000 cocaine was the most common drug reported in emergency room episodes.

Today it is estimated that 22 to 25 million people have tried cocaine at least once.

Conservative estimates indicate that there are over two million cocaine addicts in the United States today.

Contrary to earlier belief high dose use of cocaine can be detected as long as 10 to 22 days after last use.

In 1988, about 300,000 infants were born addicted to cocaine.

The heroin addict spends between $150 to $200 per day to maintain a heroin addiction.

In 1998, 65 percent of the heroin seized in the United States originated in South America, and 17 percent came from Mexico.

Children as young as 13 have been found involved in heroin abuse.

According to statistics in 1999, heroin overdose has caused more deaths than traffic accidents.

Over 80 percent of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80 percent of overdose victims found by paramedics are alone.

Meth lab seizures have gone up 577 percent nationally since 1995.

The estimated cost of making meth is $100 an ounce, with a street value of $800 an ounce.

Meth’s street value is approximately $3,000 per pound.

Statistics over the past few years show Oklahoma among the nation’s leader in meth labs, arrests, addiction and cases.

Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured by using products commercially available anywhere in the United States.

Among teens 12 to 17, the average age of first trying marijuana was 14 years old.

A yearly survey of students in grades 8 to 12 shows 2 percent of eighth graders have tried marijuana at least once and by 10th grade, 21 percent are “current” users. Among 12th graders, nearly 50 percent have tried marijuana at least once, and about 24 percent were current users.

Today’s marijuana is 10 to 15 times stronger than it was in the 1960s.

Reaction time for motor skills, such as driving, is reduced by 41 percent after smoking one joint and is reduced 63 percent after smoking two joints.

There have been over 7,000 published scientific and medical studies documenting the damage that marijuana poses. Not one study has shown marijuana to be safe.

A whopping 75 percent of drug-related criminal charges are connected to marijuana.