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Smugglers getting more creative

26 June 2008

Smugglers getting more creative

Importations of drugs are being concealed by increasingly sophisticated methods in everyday items in attempts to get them across the border. New Zealand Customs Service officers are taking every opportunity to thwart the smugglers.

Drugs have been found concealed in candles, shoes, food items even toothpaste tubes and fishing rods.

Andy Badrick, Acting Group Manager Trade and Marine says “As the smugglers get more creative in how they hide the drugs, Customs has to stay ahead.”

“It’s a business for the smugglers. Customs will not make the mistake of underestimating them.”

Customs officers at airports, inspections bases and the international mail centre use x-ray machines, drug detector dogs, and profiling techniques to identify risk cargo, mail and people.

“We have dogs trained to detect all illicit drugs. X-ray technology is used throughout the country and our people are out there examining freight. We also have a lot of work going on behind the scenes to determine where potential risks may arise.” Mr Badrick said.

The most commonly found drug is pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in crystal methamphetamine. Other drugs such as ecstasy, heroin and marijuana are also found on a regular basis.

“The amount of illicit drugs that Customs officers are finding only increases our drive to find more. We are dedicated to keeping these drugs off the streets and Customs will follow through and apprehend the people who are importing them.” Said Mr Badrick.

June 26 is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Customs supports the aim of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Contributing to the recently released Drug Harm Index will aid Customs in determining the trends in the drug trade and in measuring the impact that Customs is having. It will also allow the value of Customs interceptions to be put into more meaningful contexts.


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