MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana Highway Patrol has a new K-9 unit working alongside troopers to combat drug trafficking on Montana's highways.
The dogs were trained in Big Timber and are now spread out in top secret locations throughout the state. The K-9s are German and Belgian shepherds.
Montana's Highway Patrol Trooper Shad Andersen said Zoro has already been deployed several times since he first arrived in town at the end of June.
"I've deployed Zoro about 15 times and he's done very well on each of his deployments," said Andersen.
When an officer pulls over a vehicle and has a suspicion that drugs are present, he can call a K-9 unit. The dog is then instructed to circle the car and sniff out the hidden drugs.
We found federal court documents online from November 2013. Troopers pulled over a Yukon from Washington State just outside Terry for speeding. What started as a speeding ticket escalated to a search and seizure.
Troopers used a specially trained K-9 to locate over $26,000 worth of drug paraphernalia, bank cards and money.
The K-9s aren't just reserved for sniffing out drugs on the road.
"We're also available for school resource officers if they suspect one of their students has brought illegal narcotics into the school or something, they can call us and we can come in," said Andersen.
The K-9 unit was funded by a federal grant from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program and money from drug forfeitures.
The trained dogs now double as a man's best friend and his partner in crimefighting.