Police dogs sniff out dope, paraphernalia

LEWISTON — Wednesday was a day that went to the dogs. Police dogs, that is.

With a dozen of them prowling the downtown Wednesday afternoon, police recovered a variety of drugs and paraphernalia, including bags of crack rock and a syringe with traces of heroin inside.

The police dogs were in town for their regular training Wednesday morning. With a team of local, state and federal police preparing for their weekly effort known as Operation Hot Spot, the two groups decided to hook up for the day.

"We figured, the dogs were here anyway," Lewiston police Lt. Michael McGonagle said. "Instead of having them roam around an old, abandoned building like they usually do, why not let them train out on the street where they could help us out?"

And help they did.

All summer long, police have received complaints from people who find dirty needles, crack pipes and other items strewn around the downtown. With professional tracking dogs along, police were able to find some of the stuff and get it off the street.

On Shawmut Street, they found roughly a gram of heroin inside a discarded syringe.

Around a tenement on Bartlett Street, the dogs led officers to a cache of items that included five crack rocks inside a sandwich bag, 100 rounds of 9mm handgun ammunition and two grams of marijuana.

On Walnut Street, stashed beneath a porch, they found a steak knife that had been used for drug processing.

"These are things that could be found by kids walking through the area," McGonagle said. "We were able to get some of those items out of the public arena."

Operation Hot Spots has been ongoing since late spring. It involves Lewiston police, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies.

The operation was launched in response to an early spring spate of downtown crime that involved several reports of gunfire. On Wednesday, thanks to the dog training session, local police were joined by officers from various towns, including Scarborough, Westbrook and Brunswick.

While they were out, police also found and arrested a local man and woman who were wanted on Drug Enforcement Agency warrants charging them with aggravated drug trafficking.

Police also handed out 250 fliers to downtown residents, explaining the ongoing operation and announcing a community meeting scheduled for next week.

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 's picture

Lewiston police department is

Lewiston police department is doing a great job being proactive towards crimes then reactionary. Good to show those that are committing crimes that the police department is willing to go out and search for them rather wait till they do something first.

Melanie Baker's picture

Lewiston Police Department

I also agree this is a good job being done by these men and women. The area they are concentrating on in Lewiston is a rough area and needs to be cleaned up. People should be able to walk the streets of Lewiston and not worry about stepping on a needle or your kids picking up one. The residents of Lewiston should feel safe to walk the streets. Granted if you mind your own you dont have any issues but still.I say great job Lewiston and continue the good work.

 's picture

auburn free breakfast

No extra cost added to Auburn tax payers. Who ends up paying for the free breakfasts, All taxpayers.

Nick Gagnon's picture

I don't get what this "free

I don't get what this "free breakfast" thing is all about. Maybe I missed something; however, would you rather your tax money, if you pay taxes (not saying you don not but you never know these days), go to more state benefits for these drug dealers and abusers? Just a question.

 's picture

I think they were referring

I think they were referring to another article that said something about Auburn will continue to give students free breakfast.

Melanie Baker's picture

Free Breakfasts

If taxpayers have to pay for a few free breakfasts for these men and women then I say FINE. If this keeps the drugs off the streets away from innocent people I dont see an issue. Everyone wants to have a better community but they don't want to spend a few dollars of meals, don't make sense


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