Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office introduces K9 Unit

By Brittany Castello

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the first time in its history, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office is bringing dogs up through its ranks.

The department launched a new K9 Unit this week and the police dogs are already hard at work.

“Our dogs have actually been used on several occasions both dogs were utilized this past week during a vehicle sniff to sniff for potential drugs that were being concealed in two separate vehicles,” said AJ Noriega, Deputy for the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit.

Noriega is one of two deputies on the new K9 team. There are two police dogs, Candice and Maverick Baron Harris. Both dogs were donated to the department and are around three years old.

“It makes our investigation a lot quicker without utilizing a lot more resources than we used to,” Noriega said.

The K9s are trained to detect the odors of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Noriega said they will also be used to track fleeing offenders.

Maverick has already helped locate a lost hiker in the Sandias. That may sound like a lot of work, but Noriega said it is what these two pups were made for.

“These dogs are very high driven. All they want to do is play, play, play and work, work, work,” said Noriega.

Both Maverick and Candice will soon be used for the needs of departments all around the county.