Narcotics dog hospitalized after ingesting meth

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A Tacoma police dog named Barney was rushed to a veterinary hospital after ingesting methamphetamine during a narcotics investigation.

The 11-year-old Lab mix was with his handler, Officer Henry Betts, as he was serving a search warrant when he became sick. Police say Barney had a body temperature of 109 and was having seizures when they took him to the BluePearl Veterinary Hospital on Tuesday night.

By Wednesday morning, he was becoming more alert and responsive.

Police say narcotics dogs usually signal when drugs are present by placing their noses on the substance. But in this case, the drugs were unwrapped and Barney came in direct contact with the meth. Dr. Kobi Johnson says they'll continue to monitor Barney and are cautiously optimistic that he'll make a full recovery.

That search warrant did lead to the discovery of 44 pounds of meth, prosecutors said. Samuel Tafolla Hernandez, 39, Thomas Servantes Diaz, 34, and Jose Mauricio Lozano-Miranda, 38, were all charged Wednesday with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. 

"This is one of the biggest drug busts we’ve seen in Pierce County in the last decade," Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a statement announcing the charges. 

Investigators received a tip that Tafolla Hernandez was arranging for loads of meth to be brought to the Puget Sound area from the Desert Southwest, prosecutors said. Detectives conducted surveillance and noted Tafolla Hernandez visit a Puyallup storage unit several times and then meet with other people in parking lots across Pierce County, Lindquist said. Officers went in for the bust on Tuesday and in addition to the meth at the storage unit, officers found $225,000 concealed in a book case behind a wall of diapers at the Fife home the men shared, according to investigators.

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