LAS VEGAS -- A group of Nevada Highway Patrol troopers and a retired police sergeant have filed a racketeering complaint against the NHP and Las Vegas Metro Police in U.S. District Court.
The complaint alleges that after then-Gov. Jim Gibbons approved a K-9 program to target drug runners on Nevada's highways, Nevada Highway Patrol Commander Chris Perry intentionally undermined the program.
The complaint alleges that the drug-sniffing dogs used by troopers in the program were intentionally being trained to operate as so-called trick ponies, or dogs that provide officers false alerts for the presence of drugs.
The dogs were being trained to alert their handlers by cues, instead of by picking up a drug's scent by sniffing, the complaint said. When a dog gives a false alert, this resulted in illegal searches and seizures, including money and property, the complaint said.
The 103-page complaint alleges that Perry, along with others, used the K-9s to undermine the program to systematically conduct illegal searches and seizures for financial benefit.
The complaint also alleges the defendants, which also includes the state's Public Safety Department and individuals in NHP and Metro, were involved in a Federal RICO conspiracy, also known as the Federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act.
NHP, Metro and the state have not returned calls from 8 News NOW for comment.
Allegations also include corruption, abuse of office and official cover ups.