Parents turn to K-9 searches to help find hidden drugs

BOSTON — Local parents who are worried that their child is using drugs are turning more and more to trained K-9s to search their home for everything from heroin to pot.

“The places that my dog has hit, it would just blow your mind,” said Tom Robichaud of Wrentham-based Discreet Intervention.

Robichaud, and his K-9 "Ben" have been searching homes for drugs in Eastern Massachusetts for years. The day before we spoke to him, he searched two local homes.

“I can tell you the towns - one was in Wellesley, one was in Weston. My dog, at both, hits with heroin,” said Robichaud. He says these days, heroin is everywhere.

“I've searched doctor's homes, lawyers, professors, people that you would never ever believe. And they're horrified, they don't know what to do.”

After 30 years of dog training, Robichaud started the private company and is certified in narcotics detection.

“’Cause you can't fool the dog. You just really can't.”

On the job, Robichaud first gives teens the chance to come clean.

“I'm sorry but kids that do drugs, they lie. They lie to their parents. They don't want to get caught, right?“

And Robichaud tells Boston 25 News, teens often hide things in plain sight of their parents, with the help of clever decoys.

“My dog hit on an Aquafina bottle, Pepsi bottle, Coke can, AAA battery that's hollow in the middle.”

He tells us he found that battery decoy in a room that parents had gone through with a fine-toothed comb.

“That was on his armoire. That was where he'd go every night, snort heroin right in plain sight”

Another time, K-9 Ben hit on a teen's backpack.

“In his backpack was a Tupperware of a sandwich. The mother says, ‘Open the sandwich’ and there was a bag of heroin between the ham and cheese”.

TJ Ward lost his son, Andrew after a battle with drugs. He says he wishes he had access to a K-9 search.

“If we'd had these types of resources back three or four years ago when Andrew was living here, I would've utilized their service," said Ward

Because the way Andrew's life ended, breaks his heart.

"I couldn't save him, I guess that's what bothers me," said Ward.

“I've been to four funerals from kids’ homes that I've searched, it hits home,” said Robichaud, who lost his own brother to addiction as well.

“If I could save one child, I've done my job,” he said.

Discreet Intervention never searches out the actual drugs. K-9 Ben identifies a spot, and Robichaud lets the parents do the search. He says legally he doesn't need to report what Ben sniffs out. But if he comes across a distribution-sized stash, or illegal firearms he notifies the police. Searches typically run from $450 to $1,000 depending on the size and scope.

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