Fentanyl crisis: Deputies share secret weapon during life-saving missions in Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. – Detectives in Monroe County have seized dangerous drugs like fentanyl, and have made numerous drug-related arrests, in the last several weeks.

The department has a not-so-secret weapon to combat the problem: a fluffy 4-year-old golden retriever named Coral.

“She’s trained to sniff out the major drugs that we see every day,” said Lt. Paul Bean.

While Coral can’t specifically sniff out fentanyl, she is able to detect other drugs and chemicals that often lead to the synthetic opioid. Her handler works undercover.

“Fentanyl overdoses are a  priority for us,” Bean said. “We actually came up with a new strategy this year that is focusing on hot spot areas or hot spot people that are repeat offenders.”

Last week in Marathon, deputies received a tip about two men heading south on the overseas highway who was in possession of drugs. After they were stopped on a traffic violation, Coral reportedly gave detectives a positive alert on the presence of drugs.

Approximately seven grams of fentanyl were located in plain view on the driver’s side floorboard and 1.5 grams of cocaine and a cut straw were found in the driver’s side door, according to the department.

Cntory Phil Posada, 42, and Robert Wayne Malby, 64, both of Key West, were charged with trafficking fentanyl.

“We’re trying to be proactive. Not reactive. So my officers have been doing more to get in the cars, search the cars, to identify and find probable cause. And it is paying off,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.