District Attorney Jack Whelan and Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations announced the newest member of the District Attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children Pennsylvania Task Force.
Charlie, a two-year-old Labrador retriever, is the first and only electronic-detection forensic K9 in Pennsylvania and one of less than two dozen across the country, according to ICE.
Charlie has been trained to track the distinct chemical smell of small electronics that humans are not able to detect. Her unique abilities allow her to pinpoint the exact location of electronic devices and locations where electronics were located previously. Charlie is in the courthouse daily and enlists her skills by joining ICAC detectives during their investigations and the execution of warrants.
In many of the cases ICAC investigates, the evidence often includes illicit photos of children that are located on storage devices and drives. As technology devices become smaller in size, criminals are better able to hide evidence of their crimes and are creative in concealing incriminating photos. In addition to tablets and laptops, Charlie can find a variety of small electronics, including hard-drives and micro-SD cards.
Charlie just recently finished a two-week long training in Ohio with her handler, Nat Evans, a forensics analyst in the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division.
“We are excited to introduce Charlie, the first and only ICAC electronic-detection K9 in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Miller. “Charlie has the ability to detect objects that would be impossible to find. We are excited to have her on the team and look forward to her contributions in helping bring predators to justice.”
“Charlie is a great addition to our ICAC team in their daily efforts to bring predators to justice,” said Whelan. “In Delaware County, we are constantly looking at how we can advance our abilities and forensic capabilities to catch predators. Amazingly, Charlie can find elements of a crime that even the most seasoned investigator can miss, which are essential for prosecution.”