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Portland police dog discovers 31 pounds of meth valued at $1.5 million

It's been a busy - and eventful - year already for K9s in Oregon state. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, King 5 News reported that a drug-sniffing police dog discovered 31 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop on Friday, Jan. 24.

Portland police dog discovers 31 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $1.5 mil during traffic stop
Portland Police Department

According to Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland police, officers had stopped a vehicle on I-84 at Exit 18 at 3:45 p.m. on Jan. 24.

After receiving consent to search the vehicle, K9 Nikko sniffed the vehicle and alerted officers to a suitcase in the trunk of the vehicle. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found 31 pounds of methamphetamine in the suitcase.

The estimated street value of the drug? A whopping $1.5 million.

The vehicle’s driver and two passengers initially denied owning the suitcase, but police arrested Nestor Catarino Zazueta-Valenzuela, 26, in connection with the drugs.

Two other people in the vehicle were released without charges.

According to court documents, Zazueta-Valenzuela admitted that he received $1,000 to deliver the bag to Tacoma, Wash., but claimed that he didn't know the bag's contents.

“This [arrest] had the ability to affect a lot of people’s lives,” said Sargeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau.

”I mean, we know methamphetamine is an absolutely destructive drug in the community. There are no good qualities that are coming out of it.”

On Monday, Jan. 27, prosecutors argued to increase Zazueta-Valenzuela’s bail to $250,000, citing his potential flight risk to Mexico.

Recently, another Oregon K9 apprehended a man who believed that he would be able to win a fight with the police dog.

Fortunately, the suspect will never have to find out for sure.

The City of Portand's K9 unit includes six K9 teams. Each team is comprised of an officer and a trained police dog who respond to a multitude of circumstances. The dogs and officers undergo a long training process together.

Three of the police dog teams are trained to search for lost people, search for articles, do building and narcotic searches, and assist in suspect apprehension. The other three K9 teams are trained in explosives and perform much of their work at the Portland Jetport.

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