k-9 hero

K-9 Hero with his handler Deputy M. Stritt and two officers after a traffic stop resulted in a drug bust.

HUDSON – The Pasco Sheriff’s Office commends its four-legged partners that have a nose for sniffing out crime, and in the past month a K-9 called “Hero” was particularly useful during a traffic stop that led to a drug bust.

On June 25, Deputy M. Stritt apprehended Jacob Hughes for exiting a hotel parking lot onto US-91 without stopping prior to the sidewalk with oncoming traffic. Hughes neglected to turn on his headlights during dusk hours while it was drizzling, a police affidavit noted, and finally pulled into a gas station parking lot after making a few U-turns.

K9 Hero gave a positive alert for narcotics after sniffing the exterior of the vehicle. Stritt conducted a pat-down of Hughes, detecting a glass pipe used for smoking methamphetamine in the pocket. While a probable cause led to a hand search of the car, multiple drugs were found in addition to firearms.

Thanks to K-9 Hero, Stritt uncovered inside the vehicle multiple small baggies of methamphetamine, fentanyl, THC and Alprazolam. A small handgun, multiple magazines and an assault rifle were also located inside the vehicle.

Stritt and K-9 Hero are part of Pasco Sheriff’s Office Highway Interdiction Team, and are specially trained for situations such as this to keep drugs from moving across or into the county. The affidavit stated that Hughes was carrying the methamphetamine with intent to sell.

"From the ability to track those who have gone missing to locating dangerous drugs and getting them off our streets, a K9 is the perfect partner and force multiplier for our deputies,” said Amanda Hunter, the Pasco Sheriff’s Public Information Officer. “Their eagerness and accuracy is unparalleled and each year, they aid in the successful recovery of life-altering narcotics, ultimately saving the lives of citizens of Pasco.

“PSO's Highway Interdiction Team dedicates itself to stopping these drugs from moving through Pasco County, aided in large part by K-9s, such as K-9 Hero, who is currently assigned to HIT with his partner, Deputy Stritt,” she said. “These teams train weekly to ensure the K-9's skills stay sharp and their handlers are aware of trends in the area."

K9 Hero is a Belgian Malinois that began working for PSO in February 2020. According to K9 Hero’s online bio, he enjoys spending his off time napping to save his energy for his work.