The constantly changing modus operandi used by narcotics smugglers has prompted the Indian government to organise special training for Customs.
A team of experts from dog squads in the United States of America is now in Mumbai to train Customs authorities. The Drug Enforcement Administration of the US is coordinating the training. The team includes specialised squads from the police in Texas, which deals with Mexican drug cartels.
Customs officials said the US team, which began its training from March 19, will continue the end of the month. They are training Customs officials and the dog squads at the airport, air cargo, air courier cell and foreign post office. Each team has four members.
“The basic training is on better handling of sniffer dogs and making them more efficient in detecting drugs,” a Customs official said, requesting anonymity.
“The dog trainers will be exposed to improvised training that could be given to the dogs,” the official said, adding that handlers are also educated on diet programmes for the dogs to keep them fit.
“The drug smuggling scenario is changing fast with the syndicates constantly come up with innovative modus operandi,” the official said.
“Also, syndicates try to conceal the drugs in such a way that makes it difficult for the dogs to detect them,” the official said.
The Mumbai Customs at the airport has four Labrador dogs used to sniff drugs. Besides the airport, these dogs are also used at the air cargo, courier cell and the foreign post office.
Sources said that training for the squad at Mumbai airport Customs becomes even more important because these dogs are becoming old. “We will soon require more dogs who need to be trained now,” the official said.
Commissioner of Customs, Airport, PM Saleem confirmed the training.