More than half a billion dollars worth of illegal drugs has been seized by the U.S. Border Patrols' Canine Corps in the Rio Grande Valley, surpassing all other canine units in the nation.
"This fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009, the Rio Grande Valley Sector Canine Unit seized in excess of 400,000 pounds of marijuana, over 4,000 pounds of cocaine and various other narcotics," explained Joel Martinez, coordinator of the RGV Canine Sector. "Total monetary seizures were in the neighborhood of approximately $512 million, and this is just canine apprehensions."
The Falfurrias checkpoint north of Edinburg is one of the busiest in the nation, and the majority of the drug seizures were made because the dogs are able to sniff out contraband in even the most well-concealed places.
The highly trained dogs are indispensable when it comes to sniffing out illegal drugs and apprehending illegal aliens, and they are inseparable buddies to the men who work with them.
"They are your constant partner 24/7," added Manuel Perez, Senior Border Patrol Agent. "We take them home every day and we bring them to work every day. They count on us for everything. We are their mom and dad. So, we become very close through the years, and I don't know a canine handler yet that hasn't retired his dog and taken him home."