Statement issued Friday by Indiana State Police:
A traffic stop in St. Joseph County by Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Mick Dockery and his K-9 partner Hondo started out as nothing more than routine on Wednesday, April 27. That was until Hondo sniffed out crack cocaine inside the car they had stopped. This drug find was only one of many that Dockery and Hondo have made over the last 4 years. However, this was the start of 24 hours that Dockery will not soon forget.
Trooper Dockery explained that Hondo made a positive alert for the presence of drugs in the car that he stopped. Dockery said that Hondo then alerted on an area around the front passenger seat and began digging and rooting his nose under the seat. Dockery immediately pulled Hondo away from the seat only to discover what appeared to be crack cocaine on the floor board and Hondo appearing like he had just swallowed part of it. Dockery said that he was unable to tell if Hondo had in fact swallowed the cocaine but fearing the worst retrieved his K-9 first aid kit and gave Hondo hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Dockery then rushed Hondo to the South Bend Animal Clinic where he was treated and then transferred to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Mishawaka. Hondo remained at the Mishawaka clinic overnight where he was treated for a rapid heartbeat and a fever before being released Thursday morning. This case remains under investigation by the ISP Drug Enforcement Section.
Trooper Dockery and Hondo returned to work Thursday morning quickly finding themselves in the thick of things assisting Troopers with the State Police Marijuana Eradication Section. Hondo helped officers locate 81 marijuana plants at an indoor growing operation at home in Mishawka. Charges are yet to be filed in this case.
Thursday afternoon Dockery and Hondo were called into action once again when they assisted Tpr. Joe White in searching a semi tractor trailer that White had stopped on the Indiana Toll Road near the Elkhart exit. Dockery had Hondo conduct an exterior sniff of the 2000 Peterbilt semi tractor that was pulling an enclosed car transport trailer. Hondo altered on the trailer. The trailer, owned by Dees Freight Movers of California, contained a 2007 Mercedes Benz S550 valued at $100,000 and a 2008 Rolls Royce Phantom valued at $300,000. After obtaining a search warrant officers continued their search finding 29 kilos of cocaine inside the Mercedes. The estimated street value of the cocaine is near one million dollars. Officers have not yet been able to access the trunk to the Rolls Royce.
The driver of the semi, Patrick B. Austin, 46, of Alta Loma, California was arrested for dealing cocaine, and is currently being held at the Elkhart County Jail without bond.
Officers with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Elkhart County Ice Unit assisted with the traffic stop. *All subjects arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.