Smell of pot stops Greyhound in its tracks

August 20, 2011

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Quincy the search dog, handled by Trooper Kaipo Raiser, checks bags outside the Greyhound Thursday.

A dog sniffed at a Greyhound Thursday in Hood River.

Four legs met four wheels as the Portland-to-Pendleton bus took an unusual, and unexpected, layover in downtown due to the reported odor of marijuana on board.

Hood River Police and Oregon State Police called all 25 people off the bus just after 2 p.m. and detained them for nearly an hour while Quincy, a black Labrador, sniffed the stored luggage, carry-on bags and the inside of the bus.

The bus was scheduled to stop long enough only to let off three passengers, according to driver Dwayne Lively.

Quincy and handler Trooper Kaipo Raiser found less than an ounce of marijuana, and a similar amount of methamphetamine, in the lavatory of the bus, according to Sgt. Pat Shortt of Oregon State Police.

Lively said he smelled the marijuana and passengers had complained, and then he got a radio message from Portland that the bus would be stopped in Hood River. Lively said he has had several different law enforcement agencies in his years as a driver.

Passenger Kara Johnson of La Grande said, "I've taken the bus a lot and this is definitely the most entertaining trip.

"I'm just glad they're figuring it out. I thought it was going to go unnoticed."

Rick VanEllsberg of Pendleton took the delay in stride.

"Not much," he said when asked if it impeded his travel plans. "Just kind'a makes them a little longer. I slept most of the way from Portland to here and woke up when they said I needed to get off."

"It doesn't happen very often," Shortt said of Greyhound stops and searches like the one in Hood River.

"Typically unless we have a specific report or probable cause we won't search; but in this case we did," he said. "We had the indicators of drugs being on board so you've got to take care of it now."

OSP Lieut. Pat Ashmore said, "It's a well-known fact that these buses are used to transport (drugs)."

Raiser took Quincy from bag to bag while Hood River police officers Andy Rau and Aaron Jubitz checked passengers' identification.

As a result, police arrested a man who was wanted on a warrant for Failure to Appear out of Washington County. He was put in the back of a Hood River Police vehicle.

Also on hand was Senior Trooper Thad Routson.

"What we're trying to do is, first off, provide safety for the officer, because so many people here; and if we were to find something to investigate further we want to have people here," Ashmore said. "And the other thing is we want to get through this process as fast and thoroughly as we can so we don't hold people up any longer than we need to."

After passengers got on the bus, Quincy took another sniff through the baggage storage area at the base of the bus.

"We're making sure we got to the cause of the odor."

The drugs will be destroyed, Ashmore said.

Lively said, "I told them (the passengers) before we left Portland that they shouldn't have anything with them because they are susceptible to drug search at any time."

At about 3 p.m., Lively went back to work putting every bag back in the compartments (assisted by Raiser).

Asked what he will tell the passengers about the delay, Lively pointed to the state police, laughed, and said, "They're going to explain it for me."

Ashmore said, "We already did. We told them that we found marijuana and methamphetamine.

"It still smells on the bus. Normally it takes more than this amount to smell that much," Ashmore said.



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