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Cocaine Helps Fourth-Grader Win Science Fair

A schoolgirl's winning science project involves 28 grams of coke and three drug-sniffing dogs.


The project involved 4 drug dogs and an
ounce of cocaine. Photo via

By Liam Delaney


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An ounce of cocaine can earn you time behind bars, or—in the case of one Miami fourth grader—an A+ in science class. Ten-year-old Emma Bartelt's "Drug Sniffing Dogs" project, which involved three police dogs and 28 grams of powder cocaine, won her first place in the science fair at Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, as well as a spot at the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Elementary Science Fair, where she received honorable mention. "The purpose for this scientific investigation was to find which dog would find cocaine fastest using its sense of smell," Emma wrote in her abstract. The science ace acknowledges the help of her father, Detective Douglass Bartelt, and three police dogs: Roger, a springer spaniel, Levi, a golden retriever, and Franky, a retired chocolate lab, loaned by the Miami-Dade Police Narcotics Bureau. "The student's science project involved a very unusual set of circumstances, including having a parent who is a well respected police detective with experience in training dogs that sniff for illegal substances," said district spokesperson John Schuster. "From our understanding, the parent was the only person involved in working directly with the dogs and the hidden substances, which took place at a police training facility." Cocaine is not specifically banned as a material under local science fair regulations, says Schuster, who confirmed that the project "fits in with the principles of investigation outlined in the handbook."

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