A retired K-9 with the Wyoming High Patrol has passed after a battle with illness, the department said Thursday.

The K-9, named Kato, began his career with the patrol in 2008, specializing in narcotics detection under Trooper Jason Green until Green was promoted in 2011. Kato was then assigned Trooper Brandon Deckert in Sublette County until retirement.

Kato, who was deployed throughout Wyoming for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, was involved in the seizure of 277 pounds of marijuana, 5.4 pounds of methamphetamine, and more than $180,000 dollars directly related to drug trafficking. He was also involved in the detection of five firearms, including one from a school.

Trooper Deckert and K-9 “Kato” gave numerous safety-related presentations and K-9 demonstrations at schools and community functions.

The highway patrol said, "K-9 “Kato” was a valuable member of our K-9 team and a cherished partner and family member to Trooper Deckert."

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