Fourth grader wins science fair thanks to hard work, determination…and an ounce of cocaine?

drug sniffing dog

drug sniffing dogTo be clear, the coke wasn’t used to bribe the judges, or so we think.

Miami 4th grader Emma Bartelt entitled her science project “Drug Sniffing Dogs,” and entered it into Saturday’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools Elementary Science Fair at Miami Dade College. But unlike the other entries—who did fine work themselves I’m sure—Emma’s project went the extra mile…and by extra mile I mean her display had actual drug sniffing dogs and an actual ounce of cocaine (FYI—an ounce of the white stuff can land you a 3-year prison sentence).

Relax, Emma Bartelt isn’t a fourth grade drug dealer—a mini Walter White if you will. Far from it. No, Emma’s dad is Detective Douglas Bartelt, and he and two other cops— Detective William Pedraja and Sgt. Samantha Machado—from the Miami-Dade Police Narcotics Bureau, assisted Emma in her science fair project. They  provided the three narcotic detecting canines and 28 grams of cocaine powder, and young Emma did the rest.

From The Miami Herald

To pull off her experiment, Emma enlisted the help of her father, Detective Douglas Bartelt, and Detective William Pedraja and Sgt. Samantha Machado, according to her acknowledgments. They provided the dogs: Roger, a springer spaniel; Levi, a golden retriever; and Franky, a retired chocolate Labrador whose penchant for sniffing out pot grow houses is the focus of a pending Fourth Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

They also provided the cocaine, which is not specifically banned as a material by district science fair rules, according to a district spokesman.

Here’s how the project worked:

Put on plastic gloves. Place 28 grams of cocaine in metal box and hide box inside “Room A.” Release canine into room and begin timing. Stop timer when canine finds box. Move box into “Room B.” Repeat.

“It was kinda my idea, because I wanted to do my dad’s job,” Emma said Saturday, donning a blue ribbon pinned to a white dress and clutching a science project board beneath her arm.

Here’s hoping Emma’s class doesn’t have show and tell for health studies, otherwise the school might be overrun with scores of Miami’s finest hookers.


Jeff Greenwell is the writer/editor of Last Angry Fan. Jeff has been known to rock a Speedo while belting out Robert Goulet tunes from his front porch, and in his spare time he enjoys capturing and training feral goats to be his minions. Also known to dig a nice brick of cheese from time to time.
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