You see them in action helping law enforcement officers find illegal drugs. In 2022 alone, the dogs assisted in removing over 50 million illegal pills and other drugs from the streets.  

Agents at the Drug Enforcement Agency's Youngstown branch gave 21 News a look at how their K9 units identify narcotics.

"Obviously they can smell a lot better than we can," explained Bryan Klutzaritz, Resident Agent with the Youngstown DEA. "And they help us find drugs, especially on traffic stops, inside houses, on persons, and so forth."

21 News spent the day with K9 agent Nix on Wednesday as he inspected a vehicle for any illegal substances.

"The commands obviously are in different languages," explained Aaron Young, Task Force Officer with Youngstown DEA and a Canfield Police Department Patrolman. "Most of these dogs come from different parts of Europe. Nix came from Slovakia. So, he's trained in dutch commands from a younger age up until his training."

These drug dogs can identify fentanyl, marijuana, heroin, and the majority of illegal drugs. Officer Young has been Nix's handler since 2020, working with Canfield PD and the D-E-A.

"We've been together a little over two years," Young said. "Nix has done phenomenal work since he started. I've done many seizures with him. He's done really good work."

In 2022, the agency was able to seize over 50 million fake prescription pills that contained lethal doses of fentanyl, and over 10 thousand pounds of fentanyl powder with the help of the dogs.

"The dogs are a vital part of this," Klutzaritz added. "Helping them locate especially for a trooper or an officer on the street, searching for drugs that might be concealed within the car, the dogs are instrumental to that."

For more information about the K9 agents, visit the DEA's website