As in previous years, AZDPS troopers in the HPD dedicated themselves to criminal interdiction in FY2016. During the more than 450,000 traffic stops made by troopers during the year, more than 9,000 pounds of illegal drugs were seized and more than 13,000 arrests were made. The number of arrests by troopers increased 21.7 percent from FY2015 due in part to the relentless criminal interdiction efforts by troopers.
Additionally, the Canine District at AZDPS is a criminal interdiction unit whose mission is to enforce state laws by targeting major criminal offenses on state highways. The District is part of the Border Strike Force Bureau under the Criminal Investigations Division and also works to combat border crimes while helping secure Arizona’s border and thwarting transnational criminal organizations.
During FY2016, the Canine District, due to its tremendous success as a criminal interdiction entity, grew in size while expanding its scope of responsibilities. The district was authorized to fill existing vacancies and add five additional canine handler positions and canines to the District. This expansion took place thanks in part to Border Strike Force funding and rising demand for the types of services the Canine District provides in the quest to combat transnational criminal organizations.
During FY2016, the expanded district was responsible for several noteworthy criminal interdiction seizures. During one case in particular, in February of 2016, a canine trooper conducted a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 16 pounds of fentanyl. The drugs were found hidden in the vehicle’s drive shaft. This was deemed the largest fentanyl seizure made in Arizona to date. Other significant cases initiated by the Canine District involved credit card fraud and identity theft, the sale of fake computers and iPads, and the seizure of more than 23,000 rounds of ammunition.