Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

He ain’t nothing like a pound dog

How Leo went from unwanted mutt to star police sniffer

- ELLEN WHINNETT

A DOG rescued from the pound has become an unlikely hero after he helped police find drugs and $100,000 in cash allegedly hidden behind a kitchen kickboard.

Pound hound turned sniffer dog Leo allegedly detected the cash and 1.3kg of cocaine when Australian Federal Police raided a home at Maroubra, in suburban Sydney, as part of the Operation Ironside arrests last month.

Leo, who was rescued from a pound in Darwin by the AFP and trained as a currency and drug detector dog, was assigned to search houses in Sydney following the covert police operation involving the encrypted “Trojan horse” app known as AN0M.

The six-year-old part-labrador has now retired from his job, with Operation Ironside his last deployment.

While most detector dogs come through an Australian Border Force breeding program, Leo’s early start set him apart from the other dogs trained at the AFP’s national canine operations centre in Canberra.

His handler said Leo had “turned out to be quite a good dog’’ despite his unusual background.

He had been reluctantl­y given up to the pound by his owners, who found him too boisterous for their young child.

The AFP adopted Leo in 2016 after identifyin­g his strong drive to hunt and play with toys.

Through intense training, he became a highly successful sniffer dog.

With a dog’s sense of smell more than 150,000 times more powerful than that of a human, Leo — officially known as a cash and drug detector K9 — can pick up even the slightest traces of a scent he is trained to detect, including internatio­nal currencies and a variety of illicit drugs.

Leo joined AFP officers for a search of a property in Maroubra on June 8, in which police allege cocaine and cash were found by Leo concealed behind a kickboard in the kitchen.

Police further allege green organic plant material and drug parapherna­lia were found at the house.

A 48-year-old Maroubra man, Brett Anthony Smith, was arrested and charged with traffickin­g marketable quantities of controlled drugs, and intend as an instrument of crime money or property worth $100,000 or more.

His next court appearance is listed as August 4 at Sydney Central Local Court.

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 ??  ?? Leo the AFP wonder dog has become famous for his work during Operation Ironside. Picture: Supplied
Leo the AFP wonder dog has become famous for his work during Operation Ironside. Picture: Supplied

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