Meet Ruger: Ohio’s first K9 assigned to fighting child porn

Ruger is a 17-month-old black Labrador retriever who is the first electronic-detection K9 in Ohio.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – There’s a new K9 in Franklin County who’s the first of his kind in Ohio. His name is Ruger and he has a special mission helping to bring child predators to justice.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the Franklin County Sheriff introduced the newest member of their Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force today.

Ruger is a 17-month-old black Labrador retriever who is the first electronic-detection K9 in the state. The dog’s detection skills will help to investigate cases involving the online exploitation of children and child pornography.

He’s trained to detect a single common chemical found in electronic devices, such as micro-SD cards, smartphones, tablets, laptops and hidden devices. These things are impossible for human detection.

“He has that unique ability to find those things in the most obscure places,” says special agent with Homeland Security Marlon Miller.

“We anticipate that we’ll find a lot more information that we probably have passed over in the past that we didn’t have the option of finding,” says Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott.

The things Ruger will be able to find are critical evidence child predators don’t want investigators to find.

“These things have a multitude of pictures on it which adds to evidence needed for prosecution of the suspects of our investigations,” says Miller.

Ruger’s trainer Gerry Azzi says not just any dog can do this job.

“We’re going after a very undesirable member of society with these pedophiles,” says Azzi. “He loves to hunt and he hunts for the odor and is rewarded with his ball, very simple game.”

Officials say Ruger is similar to a K9 that provided critical assistance in the Jared Fogle investigation

Ruger is one of less than two dozen deployed for use in the United States.

“I can only imagine the pain that people went through when they found out their kids were victimized so I’m very excited that we’re able to service our communities in Central Ohio, even that much better,” says Sheriff Scott.

Ruger will be used in active investigations within the month.

Reporter Courtney Yuen is following this story and will have the latest coming up on NBC4 at 5:00pm. For more stories right now, grab our free news app for iPhone or Android.

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