Port Arthur Fire Department K-9 assists BPD in arrest of man with gun near school

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Port Arthur Fire Department’s K-9 was used Sunday in the Beaumont-area arrest of a New York man who had allegedly been reported to police for suspicious activity near a Catholic school.

Avispa, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, is the only bomb dog east of Baytown and south of Tyler, according to Fire Chief Greg Benson.

“A bomb dog can identify ammunition,” Benson said. “In those kinds of scenarios, who knows what the person has.”

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Ahmed Abdall Allam, 26, was stopped for a traffic violation before being arrested for allegedly being in possession of an assault rifle, ammunition and synthetic marijuana.

However, police were made aware of Allam by numerous calls regarding a suspicious vehicle near St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School and Temple Emanuel, BPD said in a statement.

A black Toyota Rav 4 with New York license plates had been seen parked across the street from the religious institutions for a number of hours or days. Police say the lone occupant was occasionally confrontational when asked to vacate the area.

A black Rav 4 with New York plates was spotted Sunday at 9 p.m. and stopped in the 700 block of Archie Street. Following his arrest, Allam was booked into the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on a charge of possession and driving with fictitious plates.

As of Tuesday morning, Allam remained in custody on both charges, as well as a hold for an unspecified agency.

Multiple agencies, including PAFD, assisted the police department in the arrest.

Benson said, due to the lack of a bomb dog in the region, Avispa and her handler, Captain and Deputy Fire Marshal Antonio Mitchell, assist other entities when requested.

Avispa can detect more than 2,000 odors. She was purchased for $10,000 and trained for three months with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In addition to serving as a K-9 handler for more than 11 years, Mitchell also trains K-9s in drugs and explosives.