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Homer
07-12-2001, 05:40 PM
I'm planning to ship about 80 lbs of high grade marijuana...

No, just kidding. Seriously though...

My friends and I were arguing the other night about how good drug dogs truly are. They claim that a drug dog can be fooled in a multitude of ways. They claim that marijuana can be hidden in bacon fat or crisco, and if it's fully submersed, it can't be smelled. They also claim that a vacuum packed sample can't be detected, nor can a frozen sample or a sample kept in a thermos-style can cooler (vacuum spaces between the two shells).

I say poo on that, if a dog can detect blood that's been scrubbed off the walls with bleach and Febreze, they can smell dope even if it's vacuum sealed, frozen, and kept in a cooler. They claim that's just how large pot shipments are moved, in freezer trucks, vacuum sealed, in vacuum-gap chests, and that's why weed is 'bricked' in the first place.

So who's the fool in this argument, me or the friends? Am I brainwashed by "DARE" and "Just say no!" or are my friends living in a pot-head paradise where any knuckle-head with a vacuum sealer, a 5-lb bag of ice, and a cooler chest can drive around without worry?

Mods, I realize that this is an 'iffy' thread and someone planning on breaking the law could theoretically utilize some methods which may or may not be elaborated on by upcoming posters, but it is a rather legitimate question and I want to settle this argument with my friends. If it gets too out of line, please, please close it. I don't want to cause trouble, I just wanna know who's playing the fool here.

--Tim

wring
07-12-2001, 05:50 PM
drug dogs vary both individually and generally. factors include training and reconditioning, among many others.

here's (http://www.wbir.com/News/news.asp?ID=3092)
some (http://www.k9fleck.org/reltrn.htm)
more about it (http://www.kscourts.org/ca10/cases/1997/12/96-2290.htm)

Keep in mind that most of these sites talk about case law which = court case has existed which= they found the drugs bucko, and confiscated them.

JillGat
07-12-2001, 11:56 PM
Here's my thing on bomb-sniffing dogs (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mbombdog.html), which is slightly related.

mmmiiikkkeee
07-13-2001, 12:29 AM
Well they have dogs that can sniff out accelerants that were used to start fires AFTER the whole structure is burned to the ground. While watching a show on sniffer dogs they talked about how dogs can detect separate scents coming from a common source; the example they used was soup - while I can smell the soup, the dog could smell all the different spices, meats, veggies, etc in the soup. I think it might be trickier to fool a well-trained dog than vacuum packing something. For one thing, you'd have to eliminate all traces of the stuff on the outside of the package...eg) you are filling up your fancy container, blah blah blah, and use the same unwashed hands that were into the "stuff" to pick the thing up or wrap tape around it, leaving a big smear of "eau de you and your dirty, contaminated fingers" on the outside. I'd be very concerend about getting some residue of the bad stuff on the outside of the container or on the roll of tape in the glove box or on your shirttail that would set the dog off and cause the authorities to go rumaging through your vehicle. To summarize, the dogs might be able to smell vacuum sealed or masked contraband anyways, and there's always the threat of outside contamination to worry about.

Homer
07-13-2001, 12:32 AM
Thanks for the links so far.

I think I can see their logic, but I don't know how good it is.

Smell-o-cules propogate through the air, so a vacuum sealed package won't release the required molecules to smell, and cold air doesn't circulate much, nor does frozen material release many smell-o-cules (afaik)... so I guess a vacuum sealed package, frozen, on ice, in an ice chest wouldn't release or circulate many smell-o-cules.. but Jill, your link says that dogs can smell over 1000 times better than a human, so I'd think that the minute amount the material released even through all the cold and vacuum barriers may be enough to trip a drug dog, but then there's the air-gap in a cooler, and without a manner of propogation through the air-gap (or out the seals around the lid) the smell should be effectively stopped.

But something tells me that there's gotta be a logical error in here somewhere, it can't be that easy for people to ship huge quantities of illegal substances and get away with it.

While they may have a point, I still can't agree with them. There's a missing factor, and X factor if you will, that I can't identify.

--Tim

Homer
07-13-2001, 12:36 AM
Excellent point, mikey (if I may call you that)! That's the X factor, I think, residue on the outside of the package. So while they're probably right that a properly prepared package can't be smelled, there's still more than enough residue for the dogs to pick up. Ha! I can certainly use that one against them.

--Tim

sewalk
07-13-2001, 07:41 AM
The dogs teams that supported us in the Army were always on the ball. I never saw a false positive out of about 20 hits. If the dog reacted, we always found drugs. I once asked a handler about it and he told me that his dog, after finishing initial training, never reacted if nothing was there. I also saw first-hand, on multiple occasions, that the old coffee-grounds trick (a la Beverly HIlls Cop) is bunk.

Rhythmdvl
07-13-2001, 09:56 AM
The way it was explained to me in the schoolyard was that the pooches don't need to smell the main stash itself. When it is implanted in the Crisco or sealed in the thermos minute quantities of smellocules drift around and settle on the container. Big honking piles of drugs in the bottom of a tuba will be easy to find for a stuffed up bloodhound, but they really earn their Alpo when they detect those trace amounts.

Sofa King
07-13-2001, 10:34 AM
"A judge threw out charges against a couple carrying 560 pounds of marijuana, because the search was triggered by the incompetent police dog "Falco," two-thirds of whose previous discoveries turned out to be bogus (Knoxville, Tenn.)."

--News of the Weird (http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/nw010610.html)

Apparently, not all dogs are created equal.

pldennison
07-13-2001, 10:57 AM
How good? Well, the last one I ate gave me gas, but other than that it wasn't too bad.

Homer
07-13-2001, 05:37 PM
pldennison, my mom's cousins bought some hotdogs once and when they cooked them, the insides were rotten. They returned them to the store and got their money back. When they got home, they saw the package in the trash. It said "Cheese-Dogs". Dumb bastards. :D

I think you guys have convinced me that while the dogs may not smell through ice or vacuum, they can certainly smell the residue on the outside of the package. Thanks for the help.

--Tim

DougC
07-13-2001, 07:21 PM
- - - Some police-friends once told me that trained drug dogs usually can go straight to the source but even when they can't, they get real excited when they're in the general area. Then it's the officer's job to do a visual inspection for suspicious spaces/panels/sawmarks/welds, etc, which are usually pretty easy to find. The problem with evading drug dogs is that if a person physically handles lots of drugs they get residue all over themselves and their surroundings (car, house), and it is very hard to get rid of all traces of it. - MC

sewalk
07-14-2001, 01:19 AM
While thinking about this thread, I was reminded of the time I was at Andrews AFB waiting for a MAC flight back to Tinker AFB (and home), and I ran into a SP patrol and asked for a ride to the main gate so I could walk to 7-11 and get a drink and a snack (it was after midnight and everything was closed). On the way, he was called over to a parking area and asked to provide a little assistance in a training exercise. I told him I wasn't in a hurry and didn't mind helping out. It turned out that a dog team was doing a little impromptu training and had singned out some training samples of hashish to plant on a few POV's in a dorm parking lot and let the dog find them. After planting the drugs, they didn't watch too closely while they brought the dog in and one of the tagged cars took off. These guys were nearing a state of extreme panic about what would happen when it was discovered they had lost a controlled sample. I finally suggested that they canvas a few dorm rooms asking who owned that particular car (they didn't bother to get a tag number) and after waking up about 20 confused airmen, finally found out. They tracked the guy down through his roommate at his girlfriend's house and had him go out and check the bumper for the little tin box. These guys looked more relieved than if they'd just found out that their girlfriends weren't pregnant.

Morrison's Lament
07-14-2001, 01:50 AM
One anectdote comes to mind:

A friend of mine was working in a mailroom once and customs regularly showed up with dogs to make random checks. Once he got to witness a test. They took a small piece of hash, put it in a small spray bottle, the kind perfume comes in. Then they took a box, sprayed the hash-smelling AIR into it, two puffs.
Then they hid the box under a pile of mail, plastic wrap and other junk.

The dog went straight for it, every time. I'm afraid a gun or a female dog is the only way to beat one of those damned things :D
Curiously, young female dogs have been known to work SOMETIMES in Iceland and Denmark, since they throw off the males. All they smell is p**sy, or at least that's the only smell they seem to care about :D

Also, one guy smeared hash all over his apartment in Iceland and the dogs were so confused they didn't find his huge stash under the floorboards. He was busted for the shit on his walls, of course, but they never found his kilos :D



--- G. Raven

gtzaskar00
07-15-2001, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by sewalk
The dogs teams that supported us in the Army were always on the ball. I never saw a false positive out of about 20 hits. If the dog reacted, we always found drugs. I once asked a handler about it and he told me that his dog, after finishing initial training, never reacted if nothing was there. I also saw first-hand, on multiple occasions, that the old coffee-grounds trick (a la Beverly HIlls Cop) is bunk.

Well I would have to say that drug dogs sure do give false positives. As my brother and I drove through Ohio, I was pulled over by the State Police for speeding. I will admit to speeding. I am a clean cut white guy, as is my brother, and we were driving a relatively new car with all the right licenses, stickers. I only bring this up because I feel they had no reason to suspect anything. I was told to get into the police cruiser, as in Ohio anyone pulled over is subjected to having a drug dog walk around your car (this is blatantly against laws protecting us from unlawful searches, but irrelevant to this story).
The dog walked around the car, and jumped all over it when he got to the trunk. The cop told me this was the dog's way of showing he sensed drugs in the car. This was long before my brother or I ever smoked the good ganj, and we had absolutely no contact with that or any drugs before our trip. Our bags were emptied on the side of the highway, everything gone through, and nothing was found.
So no false positives is completely not true.

sewalk
07-15-2001, 06:57 PM
I cannot speak for any civilian police department, but in military law enforcement circles, the dogs do have a pretty bullet-proof reputation. In the communities where I worked, our dog teams ran hundreds of searches a month. Not once in the 20 or so I participated in, or any of the others I heard about, did a US Army dog give a false positive. OTOH, we did not subject the dogs to excessive meaningless random searches. The dogs were only brought in when drugs were suspected or under controlled conditions during Customs searches for soldiers returning to the US. The US military also trains its dogs and handlers to a much higher degree than do most civilian departments.

Diceman
07-15-2001, 08:35 PM
Apparently, the bomb-sniffing dogs are not foolproof. There was an incident a few days ago where a dog thought that it smelled explosives in a car in the White House parking lot. It turned out to be a false alarm.

sewalk
07-15-2001, 08:57 PM
The bomb-sniffers are less accurate due to the nature of the method used to detect explosives. The dogs are trained to detect the nitrates given off by nearly all explosives. Unfortunately, many other substances emit nitrates but usually not in the same quanitites as explosives. Since there are hundreds of different explosive compounds compared to only a handful of dangerous drugs detectable by dogs, false alarms are more prevalent. This is why bomb dogs are nearly always supplemented with other detection methods, like remote mirrors and cameras and chemical detectors.

Kaje
07-15-2001, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by Homer
But something tells me that there's gotta be a logical error in here somewhere, it can't be that easy for people to ship huge quantities of illegal substances and get away with it.

I would posit that you have been sufficiently brainwashed by DARE and "Just Say No"... The sheer fact that so much time and money is dedicated to stopping even just marijuana shipments speaks to a highly misdirected political agenda in the first place but that's for another day....

A few years ago my high school hired a team of drug dogs to basically just cruise around the school sniffing lockers and if they went off on one you'd get called out to open it... Well my friends and I being jackasses, and my mom having just bought a big box of "slim jims" from Sam's Club, we took about 25 of the disgusting meatsticks... broke them up so as to expose the smell to the air, put them in a bag, and put them in my locker... sure enough during my geography class I got called out and had to open my locker...

Only problem was it was pretty obvious what we were trying to do as one doesn't normally carry around a grocery bag full of broken up slim jims coincidentally the day after a team of drug dogs is brought in (they stayed around for months) and so I got in trouble... If memory serves me I got a whopping 1 day afterschool detention =O...

However these weren't police-quality drug dogs... it was some civilian team and I think the dogs were like cocker-spaniels or something like that with i suspect significantly less training than their police/military counterparts.

on a sidenote, they did not confiscate my slim jims and that day after school my friends and I took those broken slim jims and proceeded to "write" various profanities on the wall by where we waited for the bus... and I say to you that the grease from those slim jims stayed on that wall through wind and rain for 2 years. Makes you wonder what it does to your stomach

Kaje
07-15-2001, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by Homer
But something tells me that there's gotta be a logical error in here somewhere, it can't be that easy for people to ship huge quantities of illegal substances and get away with it.

I would posit that you have been sufficiently brainwashed by DARE and "Just Say No"... The sheer fact that so much time and money is dedicated to stopping even just marijuana shipments speaks to a highly misdirected political agenda in the first place but that's for another day....

A few years ago my high school hired a team of drug dogs to basically just cruise around the school sniffing lockers and if they went off on one you'd get called out to open it... Well my friends and I being jackasses, and my mom having just bought a big box of "slim jims" from Sam's Club, we took about 25 of the disgusting meatsticks... broke them up so as to expose the smell to the air, put them in a bag, and put them in my locker... sure enough during my geography class I got called out and had to open my locker...

Only problem was it was pretty obvious what we were trying to do as one doesn't normally carry around a grocery bag full of broken up slim jims coincidentally the day after a team of drug dogs is brought in (they stayed around for months) and so I got in trouble... If memory serves me I got a whopping 1 day afterschool detention :eek:...

However these weren't police-quality drug dogs... it was some civilian team and I think the dogs were like cocker-spaniels or something like that with i suspect significantly less training than their police/military counterparts.

on a sidenote, they did not confiscate my slim jims and that day after school my friends and I took those broken slim jims and proceeded to "write" various profanities on the wall by where we waited for the bus... and I say to you that the grease from those slim jims stayed on that wall through wind and rain for 2 years. Makes you wonder what it does to your stomach

Badtz Maru
07-16-2001, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by MC
- - - Some police-friends once told me that trained drug dogs usually can go straight to the source but even when they can't, they get real excited when they're in the general area. Then it's the officer's job to do a visual inspection for suspicious spaces/panels/sawmarks/welds, etc, which are usually pretty easy to find. The problem with evading drug dogs is that if a person physically handles lots of drugs they get residue all over themselves and their surroundings (car, house), and it is very hard to get rid of all traces of it. - MC

I think a lot of the time the drug dogs are reading cues (conscious or subconscious) from the officers handling them, especially in the cases where the police do a semi-random stop and call for the K-9 unit because they suspect there are drugs there. In Texas there has been a lot of controversy about how the police handle roadside searches. On roads with high drug traffic they will always ask for permission to search your vehicle when they stop you for whatever reason, and if you refuse they will make you wait until they can call out the drug dogs, who will ALWAYS alert (according to the police, at least) which will lead to a thorough search of the vehicle. The controversy is that technically the police aren't allowed to hold you there while they call in the dogs just because you refuse to let them search, but they have been doing it that way for years.

I have never heard of a case, first, second, or third-hand where dogs were used after someone refused to allow a search of their car and the police allowed them to leave without further searching because the dogs didn't react. In this particular application of drug dogs I think their sole purpose is to provide probable cause to search a person the officer is suspicious of when there is no other reason to search.

occ
07-16-2001, 09:48 AM
Originally posted by Badtz Maru

I think a lot of the time the drug dogs are reading cues (conscious or subconscious) from the officers handling them, especially in the cases where the police do a semi-random stop and call for the K-9 unit because they suspect there are drugs there. In Texas there has been a lot of controversy about how the police handle roadside searches. On roads with high drug traffic they will always ask for permission to search your vehicle when they stop you for whatever reason, and if you refuse they will make you wait until they can call out the drug dogs, who will ALWAYS alert (according to the police, at least) which will lead to a thorough search of the vehicle. The controversy is that technically the police aren't allowed to hold you there while they call in the dogs just because you refuse to let them search, but they have been doing it that way for years.


This just burns me up. Its ridiculous how various "high-tech" forms of search have long been discluded from the laws that protect you from a search unless a probable cause exists. A perfect example is infrared scanning of houses; they'll fly over a neighborhood, take shots with an infrared camera (or whatever it is), and if they notice a lot of light eminating from a particular house, THEN its considered probable cause for a search warrant. Why? Because the house in question MIGHT be growing marijuana. Fortunately, somebody finally got their heads out of their asses and realized this was an invasive search conducted without a warrant, so it was recently banned. Using a drug dog when NO probable cause exists IN ORDER TO OBTAIN probable cause is unconstitutional. Why is it done? Because people haven't raised enough hell about it. This isn't even including the various legal issues that are involved by forcing the "suspects" to wait at the scene while the police find a drug dog; you aren't under arrest, yet you are being detained against your will, with no probable cause whatsoever.

Homer
07-16-2001, 11:17 PM
Man Badz, screw that. If I'm ever pulled over in Texas, when they ask to search I'll deny their request, and ask if I'm being arrested. If they say no, bam, I'm out. They got no reason to sniff'n'search for just being pulled over! Sheesh!

--Tim

Badtz Maru
07-17-2001, 12:43 AM
Originally posted by Homer
Man Badz, screw that. If I'm ever pulled over in Texas, when they ask to search I'll deny their request, and ask if I'm being arrested. If they say no, bam, I'm out. They got no reason to sniff'n'search for just being pulled over! Sheesh!

--Tim

In theory, that would work. In reality...a lot of the highway patrol guys don't take kindly to being told what they can and cannot do. I suspect that if you went that route they would suddenly notice some other reason to hold you - one time a police officer (city in this case) claimed to have found a seed in the simple search they are allowed to do with no probable cause (shinging a flashlight around in the car, supposedly to look for weapons, without moving anything) and then proceeded to do the thorough search. The 'seed' was a ball of dry mud about half again as big as the largest marijuana seed I have ever seen, and if it WAS a seed, they could have busted me for possession on that alone, but they knew it wasn't really a pot seed and let me go after ransacking my vehicle.

Homer
07-18-2001, 05:57 PM
Oh man how I'd love to twist their balls off in a court case if that happened to me.

Cops are a necessary evil employed to serve and protect the citizenry. Often the police forces forget that they are employed and empowered by the citizens and attempt to exert controls and powers not granted to them by the citizenry. This is when we twist their balls until they fall off like so many castrated rams.

--Tim

Homer
07-18-2001, 05:58 PM
Oh yeah, I just wanted to say that when I was young and stupid, when I was pulled over in front of my house I consented to a vehicle search for which the officer had absolutely zero probable cause. He wanted to flex his shit for a ride-along passenger of his. Boy, how I wish I had known then what I know now.

--Tim