Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

This month, Crescent City Police K9s have sniffed out a notable amount of drugs and led officers to find everything from needles and paraphernalia to illegal weapons and guns.

On June 4, officers made a traffic stop in Crescent City and deployed K9 Django. According to Police Chief Ivan Minsal, Django made a “free air sniff” and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle.

Driver Marteen Wilson, 36, of Crescent City, was found in possession of .1 grams of heroin and .3 grams of meth, as well as some hypodermic needles, according to police. She was booked into Del Norte County Jail for possession of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics and possession of paraphernalia and later released.

On June 7, Officers made a traffic stop in Crescent City and K9 Kai alerted officers. Minsal said while the driver was detained for an outstanding arrest warrant, a search of the vehicle was conducted. Officers found 11 hypodermic needles, plastic pipes, and various pills, he said. It was also found the vehicle had falsified plates and was unregistered, according to police.

Cara Haynie, 36, of Crescent City, was arrested for possession of controlled substances, possession of paraphernalia, and a failure to appear warrant.

On Sunday, officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was allegedly speeding and failed to properly stop at a stop sign.

Police said K9 Kai performed a “free air sniff” around the vehicle and alerted officers to narcotics.

Minsal said driver Fernando Castro, 35, of Oregon, showed .11 on preliminary blood alcohol tests and registered .08 later. He was arrested for DUI and not having a driver’s license.

A search of the vehicle located 10.8 grams of cocaine, 1.1 grams of meth, packaging material, and over $800 in cash, according to Minsal.

Castro was arrested for DUI of alcohol/drugs, having a BAC of .08 percent, possession of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances for sale, and transportation of controlled substances.

Asked about the protocol for using a K9 at a traffic stop, Minsal said once a vehicle has been stopped for probable cause such as a vehicle infraction or traffic violation, officers may look for signs and symptoms of impairment, such as a driver who smells of alcohol or marijuana. He said the K9 is employed to sniff the air around the vehicle but does not enter it. Minsal said courts have ruled that the K9s alert to possible narcotics qualifies officers to make a search of the vehicle. Minsal said while alcohol and marijuana are legal in homes, the use of alcohol, marijuana and narcotics while driving is still against the law.

On June 7, CCPD also assisted California Highway Patrol on a traffic stop and K9 Django was deployed. CCPD’s Facebook page showed a photo of Django with two knives, hypodermic needles and a gun, which said two subjects were taken into custody. Further details of that arrest were unavailable.