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Afghan, ISAF police disrupt narcotics smuggling with help from hounds

October 9, 2012

By Spc. Tyler Meister

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Oct. 7, 2012) -- The recent threat of insider attacks temporarily slowed partnered activities here recently, but the Soldiers of 563rd Military Police Company reunited with their Afghan Uniform Police partners for the highly-successful Operation Clean Sweep conducted in districts throughout Kandahar City, Oct. 3.

The effective operation marked the first time a narcotics patrol detector dog was used in conjunction with an explosive patrol detector dog, during an AUP operation. The dogs gave the AUP improved searching capabilities, police said.

During the operation, the 563rd MPs and AUP set up two traffic control points at different locations in Kandahar City and cleared one compound. The purpose of the operation was to disrupt and deny insurgent activity in sub district 16 and establish traffic control points with the company's AUP partners.

Usually, the 563rd only employs an explosives detector dog.

"Introducing the narcotics detector dog will help the AUP learn how to handle drug finds and process the offenders," said 1st Lt. Megan Conroy, a platoon leader of 563rd MP Company. "The AUP seemed to learn quickly and provided great support on our operations with the new search element."

The 563rd is currently deployed to southern Afghanistan as part of Combined Task Force Lancer, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

"I believe the operation was a great success," said Sgt. Adam Serella, a narcotics patrol detector dog handler with the 3rd Infantry Division. "The 563rd MPs set up some of the best coordinated traffic control points [in the city] while maintaining 360-degree security."

Serella said explosives-detection dogs usually precede drug-detection dogs in the United States. He said this procedure allows the drug-detection dogs to work safely. The process in Kandahar City on Oct. 3 was similar.

"The combination of both dogs enabled us to complete thorough search," said Sgt. Ryan M. Travis, a team leader with the 563rd MP Company. "Taliban forces would be free to return and harass the people if we did not continue route clearance and area security through searches like this."

Serella said the importance of military working dogs was best described recently by retired Gen. David H. Petraeus, who said: "The capabilities military working dogs bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine."

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