By Dana Simas, CDCR Public Information Officer
Two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation K-9 teams joined the Monterey Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Teams (PRVNT) to search a Salinas home.
The Friday, Oct. 17, search was pursuant to a warrant obtained by the PRVNT.
During the search, both CDCR K-9s came up with big finds.
K-9 Taser alerted his handler, Officer Chris Salopek, to the top of a dresser where officers found a plastic bag containing marijuana. Taser then alerted to a black backpack in the suspect’s bedroom closet. In the backpack, the officers found several bindles of heroin.
In the same room, K-9 Oscar alerted handler Officer Steven Newcomb to a rack of tennis shoes. A thorough search of the shoes turned up one bindle of methamphetamine.
Both of the CDCR K-9s alerted above the officers’ heads in a closet located in the hallway. PRVNT Task Force members searched the closet and found $5,000 in cash in the pocket of a jacket.
While conducting a search of the living room, both K-9s alerted to the fireplace. Underneath a brick on the floor of the fireplace, PRVNT officers found two plastic bags of methamphetamine — someplace officers may never have found without the super-sensitive noses of CDCR’s K-9s.
In total, they seized 487.6 grams (17.20 ounces) of methamphetamine, 51.2 grams of heroin, 1 gram of marijuana, and $7,548 in cash.
“(Officer Newcomb) and I are always happy to help out with the dogs when outside agencies call for us,” Officer Salopek said.
Officer Salopek and his K-9 partner Taser, and Officer Newcomb and his K-9 partner Oscar, are all assigned to Salinas Valley State Prison. Salopek and Taser often take part in competitions and always represent CDCR well. Last year, Taser won third place overall at the Western States Police Canine Association competition in West Sacramento.
Taser, a 5-year-old German shepherd handled by 20-year CDCR veteran Officer Chris Salopek, has been in service for about four years. He is cross-trained to not only detect the odor of narcotics, but also cell phones and tobacco.
Oscar, a 1-and-a-half-year-old Labrador retriever, joined CDCR in June 2014 and is quickly making a name for himself. Oscar is trained as a passive-alert canine, meaning he sits and stares at an object to alert his handler when he detects the odor of narcotics.
The PRVNT task force is based in Monterey but includes officers and liaisons from 10 local agencies focused on shutting down organized crime in the area.
What’s it like to be a K-9 handler?
Read our Day in the Life series at http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2013/09/day-in-the-life-of-a-k-9-officer-team/