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Drug dog assists in another arrest
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Det. Eddie Colwell and Axel are pictured in action during previous law enforcement work.
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Axel joined McMinnville Police Department nine months ago. Since that time, he’s taken a proverbial bite out of crime.

“He’s probably assisted in 12 to 15 arrests,” said McMinnville Police detective Eddie Colwell, who is Axel’s human partner in the department’s only K-9 unit. “Three or four of those were gun-related drug charges, and one of those is a career criminal who the feds indicted in federal court. In one of the dozen or so arrests in which Axel assisted, we discovered and seized about 1,000 fentanyl pills.”

The Belgian shepherd joined the Police Department in September 2020. His latest arrest assist was on Friday and involved allegations against Larry Alan Hale, 39.

“I was on patrol when I observed a Dodge truck coming from Walker Street being operated by a male driver,” said Colwell. “A female passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. I conducted a traffic stop. I had prior knowledge of the two. The driver, Mr. Larry Alan Hale, was out on bond for numerous drug charges. I canine sniffed the vehicle.”

Axel alerted Det. Colwell to the presence of narcotics. 

“A search of the vehicle revealed a Ruger EC9 pistol under the driver’s seat,” said Colwell. “The serial number on the gun had been taken off. In the dash under the steering wheel was a pouch. It contained two baggies of a substance Mr. Hale identified as methamphetamine. Also discovered was drug paraphernalia.”

The female passenger was not charged. Hale accepted responsibility for the items found and now faces charges of possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a weapon during commission of a felony, and alteration of serial numbers on the weapon.