A Prince George's County police detective-and-dog team has been recognized for a search of a home last year that uncovered crack cocaine.
The K-9 dog, a Labrador named Pele, found the drugs hidden in the leg of an ironing board during a search of a home in Upper Marlboro in February 2012. Police said the resident, who was in custody at the time of the search, had told investigators that no drugs would be found in his house.
"People are creative in the way they hide things," said the detective, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of his work. "Had I not put my dog in that room, we would probably never have found it."
The United States Police Canine Association awarded them the Top Detection Case of the Year for 2012 for a region that includes Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and the District. The pair received the award at a ceremony on March 23.
Pele is a rescue dog who has been sniffing out drugs for Prince George's County police for about eight years.
"If we throw a ball out in a field, he's not going to stop until he finds it," said Cpl. Jeff Walden, one of the trainers for the K-9 unit. "He stays very focused on what he has to do ... Plus, he's very friendly, so we don't have to worry about him. He's not skittish."
The Prince George's County K-9 unit has six drug dogs, and five more will join the unit after completing training in April. Because of his handler's assignment, Pele typically works on large narcotics investigations.
"Pele won the award last year, too," the detective said. "He's a superstar."