What a good boy.
After sniffing out about 60 kg of liquid methamphetamine hidden in a false compartment inside the gas tank of a Chevrolet Tahoe on Monday, the street value in drugs that Lobos has helped take off the streets is well over $100 million.
“Way more than that,” Lobos’ partner, Sgt. Randy Thumann of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, told McClatchy. “On a really good month, the street value we seize could get close to $70 million.”
The $100 million mark comes from the pile of recent media reports detailing the duo’s exploits on their lonely 23-mile stretch of Interstate 10, between San Antonio and Houston.
“It’s basically from a little town called Waelder, just west of the county line, to a little town called Weimar just east of the county line,” Thumann said.
Those sleepy little burgs, with populations of about 1,000 and 2,000 respectively, are most notable for being on that straight line from Laredo, which has four border-entry bridges, to Houston, one of the first big drug-smuggling hubs on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.
“Houston is a major destination,” Thumann said. “Usually what we catch crossed the border from Mexico that same day. Then, because of interdiction efforts on other roads, maybe we get a little more here than you might think due to people using our little stretch as an alternate route.”
Lt. David Beyers, a spokesman for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, said he’s quit keeping tally of the dollar value of the drugs Thumann and Lobos have seized. This week, it was the $6 million in liquid meth, according to a news release.
In September, Lobos and Thumann seized nearly 150 pounds of cocaine — more than $10 million worth — in two days, according to KXAN. Not two weeks later, they intercepted $8 million more in liquid meth.
All this while, Lobos, at 9 years old, is supposedly in his declining years as a K-9 interdiction deputy.
“They don’t have a specific retirement age,” Thumann said. “But we do recertification training every year, with the expected career span of one of these dogs to be five working years. But Lobos isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.”
Thumann and Lobos don’t hit the bite-work training as hard as they once did. And Thumann admitted that the Belgian Malinois moves a little slower than he did when the pair teamed up in 2012 — right up until he gets the scent of something that shouldn’t be traveling down their stretch of I-10.
“Then, boy, he’s as alert as ever,” Thumann said. “I figure that’s him telling me he gets as much out of his job as I do mine.”