Prison K-9 units are fighting a losing battle to stay ahead of the flow of drugs and cell phones

Nearly 50 K-9 teams are deployed statewide
Posted at 2:58 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 18:40:06-04

There are 50 K-9 teams patrolling 34 adult prisons in California, along with state facilities, county jails, prison properties and various agencies statewide who request assistance.

And, it wasn't that long ago, there were just six dogs.

That was about six years ago.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation went on the offensive in the search for illegal contraband behind bars, by positioning the K-9's across the state, to enhance 'human' search efforts that have been going on since the first cell door slammed shut.

Sgt. Eladio Alfaro, who runs the Central Region K-9 units, said they can chip away at the problem, but won't eradicate it.

"We're going to try to put as big a dent as we can on illegal substances," said Alfaro.

Officials said there is no way to put an accurate number on the amount of drugs and cell phones finding their way into prisons, so it would be impossible to determine how successful they are at finding them.

The K-9 webpage on the CDCR website, claimed from July 2014 through December 2015, the dogs tracked down approximately 955 cell phones alone.

Not to mention, 29 pounds of marijuana, 3 pounds of meth, 102 pounds of tobacco, nearly 500 grams of heroin, 111 grams of cocaine and another 21 grams of hash.

Successful by most standards, but inmates are coming up with new ways to get the contraband inside.

Officials say family, vendors or even staff have been caught bringing it in, with some even resorting to throwing it over a perimeter fence to reach the prisoner.

For the dogs, it's a game of 'hide and seek'.

For officials, it's an ongoing problem, with no solution.

Only an animal-like desire to play...