Deputy Mark Miller & K9 Axel - USPCA Case of the Quarter Winners

May 15, 2014

Deputy Mark Miller and K9 Axel have been awarded the USPCA Region 14 Detector Case of the Quarter for First Quarter 2014.  Read on....

On 03/20/14 at approximately 0830 hours, Deputy Mark Miller and K-9 Axel were asked to assist the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with a traffic contact on I-25 and mile marker 163.  I-25 and mile marker 163 is within the State Colorado; County of El Paso. 

The vehicle, a green Range Rover bearing Colorado License plate number 349-THF, was suspected to be transporting illegal narcotics.  Deputy Mark Miller and K-9 Axel were asked to give assistance with the search of the vehicle after the CRU made a legal traffic stop. 

The CRU was able to locate the vehicle traveling southbound on I-25 and conducted a traffic stop.  A short time after the traffic stop they called for Deputy Mark Miller and K-9 Axel and I to respond to the location.  Upon arrival Deputy Mark Miller contacted Sergeant S. Mitchell and Deputy J. Watts.  According to Sergeant Mitchell, they had obtained legal consent to search the vehicle.  Further, Deputy Mark Miller was requested to utilize K-9 Axel to conduct the search. 

K-9 Axel started his search on the exterior of the vehicle working from the front down the driver's side towards the back.  He then turned at the back of the vehicle and worked the driver's side towards the front.  K-9 Axel worked across the front of the vehicle and then down the passenger's side towards the back.  He worked across the back, turned and worked up the passenger's side towards the front.  Axel was placed inside the vehicle at the driver's door.  He worked the front portion of the vehicle and then jumped into the back seat area.  K-9 Axel showed interest in a black soft case that was on the backseat.  K-9 Axel sniffed the item, picked it up with his mouth, and threw it aside.  I repeated his command to search for narcotics and he again went to the soft case and picked it up.  I then removed the case from the search area and had him continue his search. It is not unusual for K-9 Axel to make an aggressive type of alert on some items that contain narcotics scent.  Because I recognize this behavior as one he sometimes makes when he has detected the odor of narcotics, the black bag became an item of interest for examination.  K-9 Axel then went to the cargo compartment of the vehicle and made a passive alert on the passenger side lower floor of the cargo area.  I recognized this alert as the one he makes when he has detected the odor of narcotics.  K-9 Axel made no further alerts on the interior of this vehicle. 

The black soft case was examined and found to contain a laptop computer as well as other items.  There was a sock that appeared to be rolled up that was also recovered.  Inside the sock there was a bag recovered that contained several balloon bundles and items that appeared to be narcotics.  These items were recovered by Deputy Watts.  In the back cargo area at the location of K-9 Axel's alert, Deputy Mark Miller located a used marijuana cigarette.  This item was not recovered as part of the investigation.  CRU conducted a search of the interior passenger compartment of the vehicle.  Inside the bag, that K-9 Axel made a positive alert to CRU Deputies found a sock filled with different colored balloons of varying circumferences.  In addition, Lemus Bermudes the driver of the vehicle, was found to be in possession of $1253.00 consisting of different US denominations.  The sock and its contents as well as the money were collected per DEA request.  No other illegal narcotics were found.  The money and balloon filled sock were turned over to the DEA.  DEA later determined that the balloons inside the sock held 1.5 grams of Cocaine and 65 grams of heroin.  This case was turned over to DEA for further investigation.

To see more winners please go to the United States Police Canine Association Region 14.