PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Halo's nose always knows. Putnam County K-9 deputy Halo sniffed out more than 66 pounds of pot in a car pulled over during a traffic stop Monday, deputies said.
The stop followed an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tri-County Narcotics Task Force and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit into a suspected drug distribution operation in Putnam County.
Putnam County Chief Deputy Joe Wells said the pot was packed in vacuum-sealed bags and placed in a box with dryer sheets to conceal the odor of the drugs.
"Certainly the smell of 66 pounds of high-grade marijuana is strong enough to penetrate a pressure sealed bag and also the dryer sheets, so Halo wasn’t fooled for a moment,“ Wells said.
Nikita Motley, 28, of Palatka, was arrested Monday and charged with trafficking marijuana, possessing a vehicle known for trafficking drugs and drug equipment possession.
FDLE agents and Putnam County deputies said they had been keeping tabs on Motley, who has been convicted of a drug felony in the past.
“About six to eight weeks ago, she came back across our radar as someone that was distributing both illicit marijuana and narcotic pain killers throughout Putnam County,” Wells said.
Deputies said when they conducted a traffic stop on Motley’s vehicle on a traffic infraction, Halo sniffed out drugs and a search turned up a large amount of marijuana.
Deputies said the marijuana found in the vehicle had a street value of $151,800.
Motley was known to distribute drugs throughout Putnam County, according to investigators.
Deputies said she was booked into the Putnam County jail, but online jail records show she was released late Tuesday morning on $50,500 bond.
The Tri-County Narcotics Task Force is comprised of law enforcement officers from Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties; the Bureau of Alcohol ,Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; and FDLE.