by Charlene Hunt
roundup staff reporter
The keen nose of a highly trained police dog led to the seizure of more than $250,000 worth of marijuana by the Payson Police Department.
Officer Les Barr and his police canine, Kodiak, were taking part in a police demonstration at Safeway Saturday. When the driver stopped at Safeway, Kodiak "hit" on a 1986 Chevrolet that was being towed on a flatbed trailer from Phoenix to Denver.
The driver of the tow vehicle was contacted and cooperated with police. He told authorities he had been contracted by a man named Juan Gonzales to haul the pickup from Phoenix to Denver.
The suspect vehicle had an Iowa license plate and was registered to Gonzales.
The police department secured the vehicle at Safeway and obtained a search warrant for its contents based on the expertise of Kodiak, a nationally certified narcotics detection dog.
When officers served the warrant on the truck, they discovered five suitcases locked in the bed of the truck under a tonneau cover. The suitcases contained more than 250 pounds of marijuana packaged in bundles.
Whoever packaged the marijuana had gone to great lengths to conceal the odor. Each package was first wrapped in wax paper, covered in tin foil, smeared with automotive grease, wrapped in plastic wrap, sprinkled with dry detergent, wrapped in dryer sheets and a covered again in plastic wrap.
Police attempted to make delivery of the load to Gonzales, however, he did not show up.
The case remains under investigation.