Dogs can help law enforcement in incredible ways, doing jobs that their human counterparts can’t. Their amazing sense of smell can be used to track down missing people or suspects on the run.
And recently, one dog’s special skill helped bring one heinous criminal to justice.
According to AP, two anti-human trafficking organizations — the Netherlands-based Free a Girl and the US-based Operation Underground Railroad — teamed up to take down a high-profile suspected pedophile who was believed to be on the run in Mexico.
Jason Maatman, a Dutch man known to be a promoter of child pornography, reportedly fled to Mexico City after fleeing pending court cases in the Netherlands, apparently thinking he would go uncaught due to the city’s lax law enforcement.
When Evelien Hölsken, director of Free a Girl, got word that Maatman was active in Mexico, her group contacted Operation Underground Railroad to begin investigating. She told AP that the man was “a serious danger to children.”
Operation Underground Railroad then began talking to Maatman online, aiming to lure him into a trap. When the suspect agreed to meet them in public near a bus station, Mexico City detectives were waiting and made an arrest. But while Maatman had a pistol and cocaine on him, the prosecutors could not seize his stash of child sexual abuse materials.
But soon, the investigators got a big assist from a black lab named Hidu.
Hidu, trained by K9 detection instructor Todd Jordan, is part of a growing class of electronics-sniffing dogs, dogs that are specially trained to detect the scent of a chemical found in electronic devices.
Todd Jordan told AP that he now has 83 electronics-sniffing dogs, which are increasingly crucial as criminals use hard drives in their illegal activities.
When authorities were able to locate Maatman’s apartment, they knew they needed Hidu to help them find the evidence they needed — and the K9 came through in a huge way, locating hidden devices that police might’ve never found.
“The dog sniffed out a couple of the hard drives in a few places in his apartment that were difficult for humans to find, but the dog sniffed it out,” Matt Osborne, OUR’s director of global operations, told AP.
“My understanding is there was a cellphone hidden in a laundry basket with just rancid total terrible laundry, you know, dirty clothes in one corner that no one would go into. The dog found that phone.”
Authorities reportedly seized 4 terabytes of child sexual abuse material, and Maatman is now in a Mexico City prison on charges of human trafficking and drug and weapons possession.
And smart dog Hidu received much of the credit for helping to bring this monster to justice.
It’s sick to think that there are people in this world who exploit and harm children, but it’s good to know that groups like Operation Underground Railroad and Free a Girl will always be on their tail — with the help of incredible dogs like Hidu.
Please share this story as a reminder of the incredible and important jobs dogs do to keep children safe.