|Corporal Brett Jeanselme, a K-9 handler with MCB Hawaii, is pictured with Max on a recent training mission in El Paso, Tex. He is pictured with his four-year old Belgian Malinois, Max, as they work with the U. S. Custons officials at the border.|
Carbon High School graduate Brett Jeanselme is serving his final leg of a four-year stint in the Marines and he's not doing it alone. Jeanselme is known as a K-9 handler and his partner, Max, is a four year old, 80-pound Belgian Malinois. Together they are trained to search for narcotics and aggressive patrol work.
Jeanselme has been home on leave this past month and talked about his training and work as a military police in Hawaii, where he is stationed. Max is one of 16 trained narcotics dogs on the base but travels extensively around the world to assist in drug prevention.
After helping stop more than $1.5 million in drugs from entering the U. S. Border, the MCB Hawaii K-9 handler and Max returned to Kaneohe Bay with experience that will help the team do its job more effectively.
From March through May, Cpl, Jeanselme worked with U. S. Customs agents to curb the flow of drugs into the country through the border at Mexico. Max detected more than 1,750 pounds of drugs while working at border crossings in El Paso, Tex.
"This is an incredible experience," said Jeanselme, talking about working with Max. "He is very good, excellent at detecting any quantity of drugs." Jeanselme explained that Max is a gentle, passive dog most of the time, and is excellent with people. "He loves to play,' he said, "but when it comes time to work, his personality changes instantly and he is aggressive, alert, protective and all business."
Brett's trip to Texas was a good experience for both him and Max, adding, "It was great to work in a different environment. It helped Max recognize the odors better."
Although Max and Jeanselme stopped more than a dozen large shipments of drugs from slipping into the U. S., the mission was still considered training fro the Marines.
"WE were not able to make any arrests, so when Max detected drugs, we had to bring the Customs officials over to verify the presence of drugs, and apprehend the smugglers," he said. Jeanselme won acclaim from the Customs officials during his tour in El Paso with Max. During the week, the team found 10 loads of drugs inside vehicles attempting to enter the U. S.
The hot El Paso sun, and the long wait to get across the border, made the odor stronger than normal as the cars passed through the inspection stations. While some loads were easier to detect because of the heat, duty on the border opened Jeanselme's eyes to the ingenuity smugglers employ to get past border inspection stations.
Max, a certified narcotics dog, can detect marijuana, cocaine, heroine, hashish, methamphetamine and esctasy. While on base in Hawaii, Jeanselme explained that he and max can only patrol the base and do vehicle inspections and barrack inspections.
Smugglers tried a variety of tricks to get drugs past the working dogs. The challenge was good for the K-9 team. "The trip taught both of us a lot about how we can do our job better here," said Jeanselme, adding, "It also tightened the bond between Max and I. It helped me to trust him a lot more."
Brett is the son of Bert and Toni Jeanselme of Price.