Tribal Government & News

Nixwa helps Yamhill County make drug arrest

01.14.2015 Dean Rhodes Public Safety

Tribal K-9 Officer Nixwa assisted the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 7, helping to confiscate more than $16,000 in marijuana, methamphetamine and cash.

Deputy Jerry Druery stopped a black BMW with California license plates for failing to signal a turn at the intersection of Main and Lamson streets in Willamina at 10:17 p.m.

Druery contacted the driver and suspected that controlled substances were inside the car. He contacted the Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department, and Nixwa, a Belgian Malinois, and Police Officer Patrick McConnell were dispatched to the scene.

Nixwa sniffed the vehicle and alerted for the presence of drugs, which turned out to be six pounds of marijuana and approximately 1.4 grams of meth. There also was $873 in cash inside the car.

The car’s driver, Darren Andrew Meinert, 29, of California was arrested for delivery and possession of marijuana and possession of meth. He was lodged in the Yamhill County Jail with a bail of $15,000.

Last April, McConnell and Nixwa received certification from the National Police Canine Association in Tucson, Ariz. They were certified for narcotics detection and patrol apprehension.

“When we returned to Oregon,” McConnell said, “the decision was made to use Nixwa as a narcotic detection K-9 only.”

Nixwa also received certification from the Oregon Police Canine Association in early November.

Nixwa is trained to detect the odors of meth, cocaine, heroin or any derivatives of those narcotics. He presents a passive alert, meaning he sits when he detects one or more of theodors. Since June 2014, Nixwa has been deployed eight times and assisted in seven arrests, which resulted in the seizing of more than $17,000 in illegal drugs, McConnell said.

“Nixwa is just getting started with working on keeping drugs out of our community and assisting other agencies with keeping drugs out of their communities,” McConnell said.

“Unfortunately, this will become more and more common with the upcoming legalization of marijuana in our state,” said Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson. “Criminals will be attempting to abuse the system any way they can to make a profit. Whether it is medical marijuana or legalized marijuana, it will be a challenge to police the black market sales and keep money from being diverted to illicit enterprises.”