Centinela Prison K-9 team uncovers $500k in contraband
In December and January, the Centinela State Prison (CEN) K-9 team discovered over $500,000 worth of contraband inside the prison.
Officer Enrique Molina and his K-9 partner Arrow, along with Officer Cesar Bernachi and his partner Kendra, stay busy finding and removing contraband at CEN.
When the CEN K-9 team gets the call, they are always ready to get to work.
During December and January, they collectively discovered 51 cell phones, 245.5 gross grams (gg) of marijuana wax and 236.9 gg of heroin among other contraband items. The largest single find was by Officer Bernachi and Kendra when they discovered 236.6 gg of heroin, with an approximate value of $120,000.
“We are very proud of our team and the hard work that they are doing. We know when they show up, if there is something there, they will find it,” said acting Warden F. Guzman.
Bernachi graduated the BCOA in August 2016. He joined the Investigative Services Unit in June 2021 and graduated the K-9 Academy in November 2021.
“Being a K-9 Officer has been the best experience of my career. I get to bring one of my best friends to work every day. It is a great reward seeing Kendra constantly discover contraband while growing in the program. I love that Kendra has made an impact to our community as well,” Bernachi said. “She has assisted local law enforcement along with our local schools conducting searches, making them a safer place. Kendra never says no to work, no matter the time of day or the weather, she is eager to work. And, I’m happy to work with her.”
Molina graduated BCOA in November 2015. In December 2019, he joined the ISU. In March 2020, he graduated the K-9 Academy.
“Being a K-9 handler was one of my goals ever since I joined the department. When they (posted) the position, I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and was lucky enough to be chosen. I love what I do and have always had a passion for dogs. Combining dogs with my career seemed like an amazing opportunity,” said Molina.
The rewards of the position far outweigh the extra responsibility on and off duty, according to Molina.
“From assisting my home institution, other state prisons, outside agencies, and even public schools, it’s a career I’m definitely proud I can say I have. The bond and trust that Arrow and I have built together is something I will carry with me forever,” Molina said.
By Lt. Dustin Loop
Learn more about CDCR’s K-9 programs.