Alabama K-9 who died after drug contact honored at memorial

An Alabama K-9 known as both the best narcotics-sniffing dog in the state and a "knucklehead" was honored at a memorial service Tuesday after he died searching for drugs during a prison sweep.

Posted: Jul 30, 2019 10:27 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama K-9 known as both the best narcotics-sniffing dog in the state and a "knucklehead" was honored at a memorial service Tuesday after he died searching for drugs during a prison sweep.

The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jake suddenly became ill on July 18 after he came into contact with a powdery synthetic street drug known as flakka during a routine contraband search. He died two days later after developing pneumonia and other complications.

Fellow four-legged law enforcement officers yapped in the background at the Staton Kennel Complex in Elmore as Jake received a 21-gun salute, a traditional bugle playing of taps, a commendation from Gov. Kay Ivey and eulogies from law enforcement officials.

"Jake was a very playful animal, a very docile canine, but when he meant business, he meant business," said Arnaldo Mercado, an official at the state's Department of Corrections. "Nothing ever slipped through the cracks with Jake."

Officials are still investigating the source of the narcotic at the Staton Correctional Facility and expect to bring charges related to Jake's death in the coming months.

Alabama has among the nation's deadliest prisons, where dangerous drugs are "highly prevalent," according to a scathing Department of Justice report released in April that said male inmates are housed in unconstitutional conditions.

One law enforcement official interviewed for the report said that "without a doubt" the No. 1 way contraband is entering prisons is by correctional "staff smuggling it in." It also enters through visitors, inmates transferring facilities and bags thrown over fences.

Corrections Commissioner Jefferson Dunn said K-9s like Jake have recently become much more involved in daily searches of correctional facilities, though they do not yet have enough dogs to conduct searches at every facility every day. Jake was one of nine narcotic K-9s in the state.

During his "quite impressive" yet short career, Jake discovered 211 grams of cocaine; 2,412 grams of meth; and 25,436 grams of marijuana, among other substances, according to Lt. Dion Wasdin.

Jake's longtime handler, Sgt. Quinton Jones, tearfully remembered his K-9 partner as his best friend, a playful pup who worked hard, but also loved his PVC-pipe toys and slapping around his water bowl.

"He knew what I was thinking. I knew what he was thinking," Jones said. "I spent more time talking about my problems to him than I did my wife."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather