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K9 Unit Discovers 21 lbs of Cannabis in Suitcases at Nashville Airport

Around the country, police are training K9s to ignore the smell of cannabis. But in Tennessee, K9s are still a major part of law enforcement efforts to bust cannabis traffickers.

Adam Drury

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K9 Unit Discovers 21 lbs of Cannabis in Suitcases at Nashville Airport
Monika Wisniewska/ Shutterstock

A total prohibition state nestled among a number of other total prohibition states, Tennessee is nevertheless a crossroads for U.S. marijuana traffickers. Indeed, today’s bust at the Nashville International Airport is the second there this month. But the 21 pounds of cannabis a police K9 unit discovered in two suitcases pales in comparison to the 160 pounds police dogs found in four suitcases two weeks ago.

Despite Trend Toward Training K9s to Ignore Marijuana, Nashville Police Still Rely on Them for Weed Busts

Since at least 2017, police departments around the U.S. have been phasing out their use of drug-sniffing dogs to detect cannabis. As legalization and decriminalization expand around the country, police are training K9 units to ignore the telltale smells of marijuana. And it’s not just because laws are changing. The fact is that police K9 units don’t always have the most accurate sense of smell. Plenty of charges and false convictions have been thrown out due to the use of drug-detecting animals. Smells linger, trigger false alerts and implicate innocent bystanders. The evidence dogs provide is often inadmissible.

Criticism of drug-sniffing dogs goes back as long as officers have been using them to catch people in possession of narcotics. And a few major exposés have revealed the many problems with relying on them. Police K9s, it goes without saying, can’t read anyone their rights; they don’t know the laws. And that means police can effectively use K9s to conduct searches without a warrant or probably cause. Furthermore, dogs are sensitive to the way their humans act. Studies show that police K9s pick up the biases and prejudices of their handlers, a huge problem when it comes to drug enforcement.

Nashville Police Dogs are Putting Up Big Numbers This Month

But in Tennessee, where cannabis is completely and totally illegal, drug dogs are still out in full force, especially in sensitive locations like airports. The K9 who has racked up more than 180 pounds of marijuana busts this month goes by the name Boston. Boston indicated to Nashville Airport police and local DEA agents the possible presence of cannabis inside two roller bags. When those bags reached the carousel, police looked to see who picked them up.

That person was one Kenisy Adair Jr. Adair Jr. is currently on probation for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute in Georgia. As a result, Nashville Police booked Adair Jr. with a $78,000 bond. The suspect faces felony drug charges and evading arrest. Police say the man “made a quick movement” when he realized agents were moving in.

After wrestling him to the ground, officers questioned Adair about the contents of the suitcases. He initially said the bags and whatever was inside them belonged to someone else. But after police obtained a warrant and discovered 21.6 pounds of marijuana, along with jewelry, clothes and Gucci kicks, Adair Jr. copped to police that the bags’ contents were his. He’s currently incarcerated at the Davidson County jail.

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