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Detector Dogs Instrumental In Catching Drug Smugglers

Detector Dogs Instrumental  In Catching Drug Smugglers
The Detector Dog Unit. Photo: Police Media Cell
December 28
11:00 2016

The capabilities of the detector dogs at the Nadi International Airport were instrumental in the success of a drug operation resulting in the arrest of two men in Suva last week.

The Detector Dog Unit is a joint initiative involving Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), Fiji Police Force, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs, and is funded by the New Zealand Pacific Security Fund.

It was opened last month with the aim of strengthening Fiji’s border security by increasing detection and seizures of prohibited goods including illicit drugs and currency.

One such detection was made by detector dog, Eto, and his handler on a parcel that came from mainland China on Wednesday December 15 at about 4:45pm.

After initial indication by detector dog, the parcel was opened and tested with initial tests returning positive for methamphetamine.

As part of the memorandum of understanding between the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority and the Fiji Police Force, it was decided to allow the package to continue to its intended destination so as to find out who were the recipients of the illegal package.

On Thursday, December 16, two men were arrested by a team of officers from the Criminal Investigations Department in Suva.

Arrested and in Police custody are a 42-year-old self-employed man and a 40-year-old unemployed man, both of Vatuwaqa after they were found in possession of the parcel containing white crystal believed to be methamphetamine.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said the successful outcome of the operation should send a strong warning to those thinking that Fiji’s borders are penetrable.

“As stakeholders in the protection of our borders, the setting up of the kennel and personnel manning its operation have all been meticulously planned out so that we are able to have the very best protecting our borders 24 hours a day, all year round.

“The detector dog capabilities at the unit have received the highest level of training, thanks to the New Zealand government and our counterparts at the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs.

“So for those thinking they can beat the screening systems in place, I’ll warn them to rethink any such attempts because I can guarantee doing so will surely land them behind bars.”

Chief executive of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), Visvanath Das applauded the work done by the customs officers at the border for the seizure.

“I commend our officers for carrying out their duties diligently in ensuring our borders are protected from the infiltration of illicit drugs,” Mr Das said.

“FRCA officers have been reminded to stay vigilant at all times and to foil attempts by smugglers who may take advantage of the busy passenger and cargo flows at the control points during the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.

“FRCA is also maintaining close contacts with local and overseas enforcement agencies to strengthen intelligence exchange to combat the smuggling activities,” Mr Das said.

“There is an increase in the number of smuggling of cigarette and alcohol cases. Our detector dogs are playing an important role in combating drug trafficking and currency smuggling.”

Source: Fiji Police Force and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority

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